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Pain with Mental Disorders

Pain and the Mind-Body Connection

Across the world more and more people have adapted to holistic approaches when it comes to medical treatments. One of the areas of health that is a focus under this type of approach is the connection that exists between the mind of a person and their body. More and more people are beginning to accept the school of thought that a condition does have an effect on a person's mindset, and that a person's mindset likewise has an effect on their condition.

Signs of affliction that would otherwise appear to be solely somatic symptoms, such as those characterized in pain disorders, may in fact be linked to mental disorders such as depression. There does exist a disorder known as Somatoform Pain Disorder, which is a good example of the link between the mind and the body.

Somatoform Pain Disorder is characterized by physical feelings of pain when no physical causes for the pain can be found. It has been postulated that stress plays a major role in the development of this disorder. Disorders such as this often perpetuate themselves because pain gives rise to feelings of malaise and feelings of malaise give rise to pain.

The physical experience of feeling pain can likewise contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety. Individuals who experience chronic pain also often experience falling energy levels, an inability to concentrate, loss of interest in things that they enjoy, as well as feelings of fear because they anticipate feelings of pain. The following list illustrates negative effects that can be caused by pain, but they are also descriptive symptoms of depression.

Pain disorders can be difficult to treat if the effects they produce are approached as if they are somatic symptoms. Generally, some type of cognitive therapy is necessary for a patient to experience an alleviation of their symptoms. It can prove to be quite difficult to convince an individual that the pain they are experiencing is the result of a mood or way of thinking.

Because the pain that individuals who suffer from mind/body afflictions is indeed real, many try to find relief by treating the pain itself. If there are no known causes for the pain it can become increasingly more difficult to treat it. Pain treatments are usually aimed at treating the causes of the pain itself because pain is more of a symptom of an affliction. People who experience pain due to mental or emotional distress may view pain as an affliction in and of itself.

Some treatments that may prove useful for alleviating pain that has no other readily apparent causes include behavioral therapy such as counseling, medications such as anti-depressants, developing techniques for effectively coping with stress, and physical therapy.

Working in conjunction with a physician and a psychologist is a great way to begin a holistic approach to treating pain. Receiving treatments from professionals in these seemingly unrelated fields can do much towards helping an individual to treat the effects of pain and also the causes of it.