How chronic pain can impact your mental health
Approximately one in five people experience chronic pain in Australia. For some sufferers, living with pain can trigger a myriad of mental health issues and these can worsen pain levels and reduce general coping skills.
Common issues that often co-occur alongside chronic pain include:
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Substance abuse
- Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
- Social withdrawal
- Reduced physical activity
- Grief and loss of former functioning and abilities
- Financial distress
- Relationship issues
- Ongoing legal problems.
How psychological treatment can help you manage chronic pain
Research shows that psychologists can play a significant role in supporting you to live with chronic pain. Evidence-based psychological treatment approaches that can help you live with chronic pain and improve your mood and quality of life include:
- Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. These two approaches can help you to re-evaluate and challenge your unhelpful thoughts and lifestyle habits in response to chronic pain. Therapy also helps you to accept chronic pain and live a fulfilling life in line with your values despite your chronic pain.
- Relaxation techniques can reduce your physiological arousal and pain levels
- Activity pacing strategies encourage you to slowly increase physical activity in incremental stages. This helps you to minimise your pain-related fear response, and reduce sensitivity to activity-related pain.
- Mindfulness techniques help you to observe your pain without becoming distressed by its discomfort
Seed Psychology Can Help
Our team are trained and experienced in the psychological treatment of chronic pain management. Our driving focus is to help you improve your wellbeing and quality of life.
Written by Joanna Godden, Clinical Psychologist at Seed Psychology