Managing Anxiety and Pain Symptoms
Chronic pain can have a profound impact on a person’s overall emotional health. Whether caused by a disease, such as fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis or cancer, or by an injury or surgery, the brain can become severely fatigued by long-lasting pain. When this happens, a wide range of emotional effects may be experienced, including depression and anxiety. When the pain itself cannot be sufficiently relieved, it is absolutely critical to a person’s psychological health that he or she learns to effectively manage anxiety and pain symptoms.
Pain and Anxiety in the Brain
In many ways, the brain acts as a sort of information station or central switchboard for the millions of chemical signals passing through the nervous system. Some examples of the types of things being controlled by this process include the following:
- Motivation and optimism for the future
- Impulse control and tolerance for delayed gratification
- Romantic and sexual response
- Appetite and eating
- Waking and sleeping
- Stress tolerance
This same system is actively involved in pain management and tolerance. Pain is supposed to function as a warning system to make a person aware of something that is wrong in the body. Chemical and neurological problems can cause pain signals to go off constantly, even when there is no known problem or injury to address. This kind of persistent pain causes the brain to divert emotional capacity to cope with the discomfort, and the result can be a sort of psychological spillover into other areas. While this can affect any number of the above mentioned emotional functions, one of the most common results is an increasing sense of anxiety and stress.
Effects of Poorly Managed Anxiety and Pain
When chronic pain causes anxiety, a number of dangerous results are possible, including the following:
- Panic attacks
- Sleep disorders
- Emotional outbursts
- Compulsive, self-comforting behaviors
- Self-medication through substance abuse
The brain seeks relief from psychological stress in ways that are far more powerful than rational or conscious thought. Anything, including drugs or alcohol, that provide even very short-term relief from anxiety will be craved. Specialized treatment programs help victims of persistent pain manage their symptoms through the following types of techniques:
- Relaxation techniques
- Physical therapy
- Therapeutic massage
- Holistic treatments
It is critical that individuals suffering from chronic pain learn special coping techniques for managing their symptoms before they endure additional damage and pain.
Pain, Anxiety and Substance Abuse Help
There are many different ways to approach pain and anxiety management. Our counselors can help connect you with the best pain management and psychological health programs available. Call our toll-free helpline for immediate and caring help. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day. The call costs you nothing, and there are no strings attached. If you are ready to actively manage your physical and mental health instead of being driven by pain and anxiety, we are here to help. Call now.