Over the last month, we’ve been discussing many of the reasons why proper care and attention to mental health is so important for all of us. Of course, mental health deserves a discussion of the mental disorders that affect many people, but it also encompasses the day-to-day stressors that affect everybody. How much that stress can impact a person deserves careful attention from both the individual and his or her healthcare team.
For chronic pain patients, the need to manage daily stressors and focus on mental health is even more important.
There is a clear relationship between chronic pain and depression. Unfortunately, the symptoms of chronic pain can lead a person deeper into depression, and the symptoms of depression may actually include physical pain. This creates a worrisome cycle that all health professionals must be ready to screen for and treat, if necessary.
There are also established links between pain and other mental disorders, including anxiety, substance abuse, and rarer disorders like Tourette’s syndrome. Likewise, there are chronic pain conditions that can be expressed in mental changes. Fibromyalgia, in particular, is connected with a condition known as “fibro fog” that is characterized by confusion and an inability to focus.
Fortunately, there are some practices you can undertake to help treat a mental disorder or chronic stress condition.
Most importantly, try to find a support group either in your community or online in order to find relief and help from others who understand your condition. You may also consider trying cognitive behavioral therapy with a certified mental practitioner.
There are also daily interventions you can use to help manage your stress or mental disorders. These may include:
- De-stressing your home
- Finding relief with a pet
- Making time to enjoy nature
- Enjoying a book
- Using games to stay mentally sharp
While these methods may work better for some than others, the one treatment that can’t be ignored is the importance of a good night’s sleep. There have been clear connections made between poor quality sleep and the prevalence of depression. You can incorporate some ideas for finding better sleep, such as using yoga or drinking calming tea, or you can go high tech and use mobile apps to help manage sleep quality and duration.
No matter how you actually approach your daily life and its stressors, it’s important to take the time to do so. Maintaining a healthy level of stress can help you avoid mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression, and can help you prevent pain.
How do you manage stress in your life?