What makes you extremely frustrated and depressed
When pain causes depression and what to do about it
Do you suffer from pain and have found that it also often depresses your mood? Of course, it doesn't have to be that pain causes depression. But pain has an impact on our wellbeing. What does this connection look like? How can you deal with pain so that your mood suffers less and the pain does not result in depression?
Influence on the psyche
Pain has an immediate effect on our psyche. And that's good! There is a reason for the fact that pain also causes psychological suffering, i.e. unpleasant thoughts and feelings. This suffering moves us to take good care of our pain. This is how we protect our health and ultimately ensure our survival.
If we didn't care that we have stomach or headaches for a long time, for example, we would probably not go to the doctor and not have an illness treated. You can find out more about this relationship in our blog article on pain and psyche.
Pain and depression
So when we are in pain, it is not only an uncomfortable physical sensation, but it also preoccupies us on a mental level. We think about possible causes and worry if it's something bad. We start brooding and experience unpleasant feelings such as fear, sadness or anger about the pain.
Pain can be so intense and excruciating that it is permanently present in our world of emotions and thoughts. If we do not experience any physical or psychological recovery from extreme pain, it can therefore be useful, in consultation with a doctor, to take a pain medication once or for a short period of time. In this way, we can also experience psychological recovery and focus again on other things that lift our mood.
When we are in pain, we tend not to do planned activities, for example, and are therefore frustrated and angry. If the pain persists, this social withdrawal will also last. Pain can lead to depression.
Depressive complaints in connection with pain mainly occur when we start to withdraw because of the pain and to take it easy. Then we experience less beautiful things and our mood can be depressed in the long term.
Am I depressed because of my pain?
Studies indicate that one in five chronic pain sufferers suffers from depressive disorders. The causes are varied and it is assumed that there is an interaction. On the one hand, pain can promote depressive moods; on the other hand, pain also occurs more frequently in patients with depressive illnesses.
Due to the complex interactions, diagnostics by specialist staff is important. Depression is a mental illness that can ultimately only be diagnosed by psychotherapists or doctors.
There are many different forms of depression and with the combination of pain and depression, for example, a depressed mood is also possible. A depressed mood is not as severe and long-lasting as depression. For example, it could accompany the pain.
Important is: When it comes to diagnosis, one should not jump to conclusions and, if in doubt, go to a psychotherapeutic consultation.
What can I do about depressive symptoms in pain?
1Support your body
Of course, it is very important that you have a doctor clarify the cause of your pain and find out about treatment options. However, there may not be any specific medical measure, especially for chronic pain. It is therefore all the more important to perceive your body as a whole and to consider how you can best support your body through diet, exercise and relaxation. So, despite the pain, pay more attention to your physical well-being: What food, what activities, how much sleep does your body need?
Pain can be acute, for example when we stub our big toe on the edge of the bed. However, it can also last over a normally expected period of time or recur, which is referred to as chronic pain. The pain has lost its signaling function and can develop into an independent clinical picture.
2Do what is important to you
Restricting your daily activities because of the pain can affect your quality of life. As mentioned at the beginning, the connection between pain and depression can also arise from this. For example, if you spend less time with friends or stop exercising, you may become less comfortable over time. Therefore, even if it should be difficult for you:
Find alternative activities that you can do despite the pain. In this way you can actively ensure that you do not fall into the "role" of suffering and lead a fulfilled life despite pain.
3 Watch your thoughts
Perhaps you know that when you are in pain: You mentally step into the pain. The result: the suffering is getting bigger and bigger. Chronic pain leads to chronic worry. Of course, you cannot control your thoughts and should not try desperately to see everything in a positive way. But watch curiously what effects your thoughts have on the pain and your mood. This alone will make them lose some of their influence on you! You can also go a step further using the ABC model.
Food for thought
The ABC model
The relationship between certain triggers, thoughts and feelings is described in psychology using the ABC model. Thoughts therefore have an important influence on how we feel and behave. That sounds logical, but many people assume that a trigger (A), for example pain, determines how we are doing and how our reaction (C) (English: consequence) is. It has a lot more to do with how we rate something (B).
In this context, consider: What could be a new, helpful assessment of pain for you? Perhaps in moments of worry you could say to yourself: "Yes, the pain is uncomfortable, but it does not determine who I am or what I invest my valuable time in." Such helpful thoughts can help ensure that pain no longer leads to depression or depressive moods.
Better quality of life despite pain: online training from HelloBetter
Pain has a direct impact on our psyche that is normal and, to some extent, desirable for us to take good care of ourselves. With the help of the tips above you can actively influence your well-being in a positive way. If you suffer from chronic pain and would like to learn more psychological strategies for dealing with pain, you might be interested in our online training on chronic pain. In this training you can deal with your pain history individually and practice specifically to maintain your quality of life despite pain.
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