Chronic Pain

Ways Chronic Pain Can Affect Mental Health

Chronic Pain
Written by Nancy

Are you experiencing chronic pain? Have you noticed changes in your mood, behaviors, activities and daily life functions? Are you concerned about these changes and want to educate yourself on what’s happening?

If the answer to these questions is ‘yes’, keep on reading below to learn the impact of chronic pain on mental health.

Psychiatric Aspects of Chronic Pain

We all know that people who experience chronic pain, be it arthritis or post-trauma pain, deal with daily distress in terms of physical activities and mobility. However, an often-overlooked aspect of chronic pain is its deep impact on a person’s mental health and its contribution to the development of psychological conditions.

Let’s take a look at all the different ways chronic pain is associated with mental health problems and how to deal with these issues effectively.

Depression and PTSD Due to Chronic Pain

Chronic pain, particularly as a result of an accident, is three times more likely to cause PTSD symptoms when compared with people who don’t experience pain.

PTSD and depression share a number of similar symptoms and both can be responsible for worsening chronic pain symptoms. In addition, PTSD due to chronic pain can contribute to the escalation of physiological health problems including but not limited to sleep disorders, pain sensitivity and hypersensitivity.

Change in Eating Habits

Severe eating disorders are a common side-effect of chronic pain; and can make the recovery process extremely difficult. Even though eating disorders are more prevalent in individuals experiencing chronic abdominal pain, they can manifest in other forms of chronic pain as well.

Due to limited mobility and long-term bed rest, chronic pain can be a factor of anorexia nervosa, binge-eating and bulimia nervosa.


Self-Esteem and Self-Efficacy

The frustration and stress caused by chronic pain can take a toll on a person’s self-esteem. Accepting the fact that pain will be a part of your life for a long time and dealing with the consequences of it can be a panicking thought, one that can make you angry.

Physical limitations such as getting dressed, lifting objects or going to the toilet can negatively impact self-image, which further adds to depression, anxiety and feelings of helplessness.

Dealing with the Mental Health Consequences of Chronic Pain

The close relationship between the two is why treatment is necessary to prevent escalation. Alleviating the physical pain is the first step in limiting the mental health impacts of chronic pain.

Physiotherapy treatment can be especially helpful for sports injuries as well as injuries and pain caused by accidents. If you’re looking for a reliable physiotherapist in Calgary, Divergent Healthcare offers chronic neck and back pain treatment as well as pain programs for fibromyalgia, migraine and neuropathy. You can find the details here!

About the author


I’m Nancy and no, I didn’t always look like I do in that picture on the right. My foray into health and fitness began as a brace-faced, 16 year-old who was too afraid to wear a two-piece at the beach because I felt my body paled in comparison to my much more toned friends.

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