Many people living with chronic pain face obstacles most people don’t need to be concerned about. Some conditions severely limit people’s level of physical functioning and living with constant pain can negatively impact people thinking and emotional management ability.
What is often not discussed is the impact on family members and other significant others who have to bear witness to the person living with chronic pain. I’ve seen many families disrupted and many marriages end due to mismanaged or poorly managed chronic pain conditions. Sometimes family members and other significant others develop their own healthcare problems while trying to help someone undergoing chronic pain management.
Sometimes family and other significant others get burned out while at other times they become frustrated and resentful towards the person undergoing chronic pain management. A spouse can become as hopeless and helpless as the pain patient and may even develop a severe depressive disorder or sleep disorder as a result of what they are experiencing.
When the person undergoing chronic pain management also develops an addictive disorder family and friends are negatively impacted as with any other alcohol or other drug addiction that occurs in a family system. I often refer these significant others to Al-Anon or Nar-Anon (12-Step support groups for family and friends of alcoholics or addicts) as they need as much if not more support as the person with the addictive disorder.
So what can you do if a loved one is undergoing chronic pain management and is developing problems or experiencing significant quality of life problems and decreased level of functioning?
Below is a list of five possible starting points
- Make sure that you are practicing good self-care for you; such as take time to relax, sleep, play, eat healthy, etc.
- Work to have compassion and even sympathy for your significant other—but never sympathy as that can cause problems. Thus the old saying “Sympathy Kills” that can be heard at Al-Anon meetings.
- Do NOT do things for your significant other that they can and should be doing for themselves.
- Don’t keep secrets for the person undergoing chronic pain management. This is especially true concerning medication use or abuse issues.
- Remember the three (3) Cs of Al-Anon: You didn’t CAUSE it, You can’t CONTROL it, and You can’t CURE it.
You can learn more about the Addiction-Free Pain Management® System at our website www.addiction-free.com. If you have a loved one who is living with chronic pain, especially if they’re in recovery or believe they may have a medication or other mental health problem and you want to learn what they are going through and need to do, please go to our Publications page and check out my book the Addiction-Free Pain Management® Recovery Guide: Managing Pain and Medication in Recovery. To purchase this book please Click Here.
To learn about two skill trainings coming up in Sacramento California designed to teach treatment strategies for people living with chronic pain and coexisting disorders including disorders including addiction please Click Here.
To read the latest issue of Chronic Pain Solutions Newsletter please Click here. If you want to sign up for the newsletter, please Click here and input your name and email address. You will then recieve an autoresponse email that you need to reply to in order to finalize enrollment.
To listen to a radio interview I did conducted by Mary Woods for her program One Hour at a Time please Click Here to go to this interview.