Chronic pain can wear a person down. It can drain their energy, making them unmotivated, irritable, and impatient. Chronic pain can even affect a person’s ability to solve simple and mundane tasks, making it hard for them to function on a daily basis. Recent studies have shown that chronic pain can actually change the wiring of the nervous system. Here are some ways chronic pain can negatively affect mental health in the long term.
Changes In Sleep Cycle
People with chronic pain often lose the ability to focus on multiple things at once. Falling asleep becomes difficult because the same part of the brain that focuses on multiple things also regulates the sleep cycle. An estimated 50-80% of people with chronic pain also have sleep difficulties. Many people with chronic pain also report waking up in the morning not feeling refreshed; this is called “non-restorative sleep”.
Depression & Anxiety
The brain rewires itself to anticipate future bouts of pain, which can cause a significant amount of anxiety. About one third of people with chronic pain develop depression at some point during their lifetime. Chronic pain creates a feeling of hopelessness, and people often isolate themselves from the world. Pain accompanied by depression can often result in damaged relationships and loss of employment.
Greater Risk of Dementia
A recent study at UC San Francisco has shown that older people with chronic pain are more likely to have dementia years later. Possible causes include the use of opioids, the pain causing memory and other cognitive functions to be stifled, or another factor that was not measured in the study. People who said they were persistently troubled by moderate to severe pain declined 9.2 percent faster in their tests for memory and cognition than those without pain.
Early intervention of pain can be effective in preventing these long-term effects. If the effects of chronic pain have already set in, it is best to treat it from an interdisciplinary perspective. Depending on the patient, exercise, physical therapy, a balanced diet, and/or prescription medication might be effective treatments. DORN’s programs are designed to attack pain before it becomes a chronic issue, and also to treat pain at its worst. Our treatments improve sleep patterns, reduce sick days, and boost productivity, among many other benefits.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/chronic- pain-not-only-hurts- it-also- causes-isolation- and-depression- but-theres-hope/2015/01/12/db576178-7fe7- 11e4-81fd-8c4814dfa9d7_story.html?utm_term=.25c2e234588f