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Can pain affect mental health?

Pain often gets associated with the physical body for obvious reasons. But pain actually has numerous well-documented ties to mental health, too.

Just how does pain affect mental health? How do mental health and wellness interact with chronic pain in particular?

Chronic pain and mental wellness

The International Association for the Study of Pain discusses the ties that exist between mental and physical health. In particular, chronic pain has a high rate of occurring alongside anxiety, depression and trauma or stressor-based disorders. In people these disorders already exist, they often worsen.

What about chronic pain in particular causes such a high rate of overlap with these mental health issues?

In short, many studies believe that it boils down to the uncertainty of the future when a person has chronic pain. In many cases, no one can predict when chronic pain will end. In others, it will likely never end.

Lasting pain’s effects on the psyche

The idea of continuing on through life experiencing moderate or even severe and debilitating pain can have a profound effect on a person’s psyche. Many people suffering from chronic pain will grow into more pessimistic, negative people without the right mental health support, coping mechanisms or support groups.

Of course, the true impact of pain on a person’s mental health will depend on numerous factors. These factors may relate to the pain itself, such as its intensity, cause, location or potential prognosis. Other factors involve the person in question, like their mental resilience and overall personality.

But in general, many people will struggle with their mental health when dealing with chronic pain, especially when faced with particularly long-lived or intense bouts of it.

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