Not dealing with one can lead to the other: the pain-anxiety-depression connection

Don’t even think for a second that they aren’t connected, because there is a proven relativity between the three. Although we all experience pain at some points in our lives, whether physical, psychological, or emotional, we never experienced the consequences of the connection between the three because most of the time, we aren’t suffering from anxiety or depression. But for people with a track record of anxiety or depression, pain can become particularly intense and difficult to treat. Studies have it that when people suffering from depression experience pain, they tend to do so in an extremely severe and long-lasting fashion.

It is, therefore, clearly evident that there is an overlap between anxiety, depression, and pain. And this overlap is more pronounced in people suffering from chronic pain syndromes, such as low back pain, nerve pain, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, and fibromyalgia.

At the beginning of the study of the relationship between anxiety, depression, and pain, researchers were convinced that the overlap between the three was merely psychological rather than biological. According to them, since conditions like chronic or acute pain were known to be depressing, there is no reason why someone suffering from depression shouldn’t feel worse when experiencing something that enhances their condition. Similarly, they also suggested that depression can feel physically painful too. But after several studies and research, researchers have come to agree that the interaction between the three conditions is not just psychological but biological, too, as both pain and anxiety or depression share some biological mechanisms.

From these claims, it is evident that there is an actual connection between these three. When you experience severe pain, and you don’t deal with it, you risk feeling depressed. And in the same vein, failure to combat a psychiatric disorder like anxiety or depression can also lead to acute physical pains. So the ultimate solution for all and sundry is to tackle each one the moment you’re diagnosed with it.

Unfortunately, treatment is challenging when pain overlaps with anxiety or depression. This is because the feeling of pain can mask the existence of a psychiatric disorder. But that’s not even all. Even when the conditions are correctly diagnosed, they can still be difficult to treat together. So, what then is the ultimate solution to this intersection? Sit tight and find out in the next frame.

Treatment options when pain-anxiety-depression intersect

Once a patient suffering from anxiety or depression is diagnosed with pains, various psychotherapies can be adopted in isolation or combined with drug treatment.

CBT (Cognitive behavioural therapy)

We know for a fact that pain is not only demoralizing, but it is also physically hurtful. But thankfully, there is a therapy known to combat these conditions. CBT is not only effective in the treatment of anxious or depressed patients, but it is also the best-studied psychotherapy for the treatment of pain. The whole idea of CBT is centred on the belief that the brain, thoughts, feelings, and human sensations are closely related, and as such, the treatment of one is the treatment of all. In CBT, the therapists help the patients learn various coping skills so that they can manage their pain rather than feeling victimized by it.

Introduction of cannabidiols

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment procedure that is as effective as CBDs in the fight against the intersection between pain-anxiety-depression. Although there were several eyebrows raised upon the introduction of CBDs as a form of combating chronic pains, anxiety disorders, and depression, CBD has been able to quell such worries over the last few years, thanks to the series of success stories from patients and guardians. In this light, several patients have started turning to cannabidiol in a bid to end their chronic pain or psychiatric disorders. However, it should be noted that CBDs come in various forms – pills, tinctures (oils), and edibles – and not all forms might be cool for you. Also, due to the increasing popularity of this form of medication, patients are likely to find several brands and makers in the market. But please note that not all the CBD you find online or at the store nearest to you is ideal for you. Always search for the best CBD oil for pain, or the best CBD oil for anxiety, or the best CBD gummies (for lovers of edibles) before you make your purchase.

Relaxation training

Slightly moving away from medical treatments, various techniques can help individuals reduce the stress response they get whenever they’re experiencing any of these conditions. It is widely known that stress tends to exacerbate pain, as well as symptoms of anxiety and depression. Therefore, relaxation techniques, such as yoga, exercises, mindfulness training, and other muscle relaxation routines, can help individuals overcome their stress responses.

Hypnosis

During this therapeutic procedure, a clinician helps a patient achieve a trance-like state and then provides positive suggestions – for instance, that pain will improve. If you cannot afford to visit a therapist, you can also learn self-hypnosis yourself. A certain study once showed that hypnosis training reduced both gastrointestinal distress and levels of depression and anxiety in 71% of patients studied.

Exercise

Similar to relaxation training, there is an abundance of studies that regular physical exercises have the potential to help reduce stress, reduce pain, boost mood, eradicate anxiety, and increase energy level.

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