Many people with chronic pain frequently become depressed due to living with under-treated or mistreated pain symptoms. This process starts when thinking and emotions become problematic. By problematic I mean that the thinking process becomes irrational or dysfunctional and they start to mismanage their feelings; they often have urges to indulge in self-defeating impulsive or compulsive behaviors to cope with depression surrounding their chronic pain. This in turn affects all the relationships in their lives.
There are several types of clinical depression that involve disturbances in mood, concentration, self-confidence, sleep, appetite, activity and behavior as well as disruptions in friendships, family, work and/or school. A clinical depression is different than the experiences of sadness, disappointment and grief that are familiar to everyone. Because of this it can be difficult to determine when professional help is necessary.
Symptoms of Depression
The following section contains a depression checklist that includes many of the symptoms typical for clinical depression. Please note, however, that only some of these symptoms are necessary for a diagnosis of depression. It is best to go over the results of this checklist with a qualified healthcare provider who can help determine if you are suffering from clinical depression versus feeling blue or a little down and out.
- A significantly depressed mood or general absence of mood: A person may be feeling overly negative and down or at other times emotionally cut off.
- Inability to experience pleasure or feel interest in daily life: Things that used to excite or interest a person now holds no attraction at all. Sometimes it hardly seems worth getting up.
- Inexplicable crying spells, sadness and/or irritability: They may cry for no reason or having a temper tantrum and lash out without any provocation.
- Insomnia (difficulty sleeping) or hypersomnia (oversleeping) nearly every day: They either can’t get to sleep or stay asleep and/or spend most of their time sleeping to the point of missing important events in life.
- A substantial change in appetite, eating patterns or weight: They have no appetite and nothing sounds good so they just don’t eat, or in an effort to feel better they discover that eating certain types of foods are soothing. They either lose or gain a significant amount of weight.
- Fatigue or energy loss: They always feel tired or don’t seem to have enough energy to accomplish even simple tasks of daily living.
- Diminished ability to concentrate: Paying attention is very difficult. They may read the same page over and over or forget the plot of a movie they are watching.
- Difficulty making decisions: They can’t seem to decide what to do even in simplest areas that used to be easy. They tend to procrastinate or put off having to decide one way or another.
- Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness: At times they feel like life is always going to be unbearable or that they don’t deserve to be happy or successful.
- Inappropriate feelings of guilt or self-criticism: They put themselves down for little things and feel bad about things that might not even be their fault.
- A lack of sexual desire: They have lost an interest and passion for being a sexual being. It either seems like too much of a hassle or they just don’t care anymore.
- Suicidal thoughts, feelings or behaviors: They have thoughts like “maybe I’d be better off dead,” or “I feel that life isn’t worth living.” They may start thinking about ways they could commit suicide and even develop a plan.
If you want to read more about depression and chronic pain management you can find my article The Role of Clinical Depression in Chronic Pain Management that you can download for free on our Ariticles page.
If you want to learn more about the Addiction-Free Pain Management® System please check out our website at www.addiction-free.com. To learn more about how to develop an effective chronic pain management plan please go to our Publications page and check out my book The Addiction-Free Pain Management® Recovery Guide. To look for my upcoming trainings please go to our Calendar page.
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