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Chronic Pain Increases Holiday Depression: How Pain Impacts Self-image and Interpersonal Relationships
Chronic Pain Increases Holiday Depression: How Pain Impacts Self-image and Interpersonal Relationships

Chronic pain increases holiday depression: How pain impacts self-image and interpersonal relationships

(Scottsdale, AZ)…Those who are prone to depression have a particularly difficult time during the holidays. Whether depression stems from unrealistic expectations, overextending oneself financially or the inability to see loved ones, if physical pain is added to the equation, the results can be dire.

The physical impact of chronic pain is readily apparent. However, the mental impact can be no less devastating – not just for the person experiencing it, but for his or her family members and friends. According to the American Journal of Psychology, pain negatively impacts four major areas: mood, sleep, memory/concentration and relationships. Each one of these can have long-term negative impact on both self-image and interpersonal relationships.

“When it comes to one’s mood, we all know that pain has a major impact,” says Dr. Sham Vengurlekar, lead physician and founder of Premier Pain Institute. “It is difficult to smile and be pleasant when physical pain is the only stimuli the brain can process.”

In fact, the Australian Pain Management Association asserts that 21% of suicides in that country are directly related to physical health problems. So those who manage their pain most effectively will naturally decrease their risk for depression.

Sleep is another area that is negatively impacted by pain. During the holidays, when parties are scheduled not only during the week but on weekdays as well, sleep suffers.

According to a recent story covered by Better Health Channel, those who are sleep-deprived report increases in anger, frustration, irritability and sadness. Over time, this can lead to mood disorders, including depression and anxiety.

It is said that “multi-tasking” is a myth. In other words, we are only able to truly concentrate on one thing at a time. If more than one thing is occupying one’s mind, the amount of cognitive focus will decrease as distractions are added.

“It is hardly surprising that physical pain impacts our memory and recall,” says Dr. Vengurlekar. “There is a great deal of discussion about how children who are hungry cannot concentrate. The same is true of adults who suffer from chronic pain. They cannot concentrate either.”

With regard to the holidays, perhaps the most heart-wrenching impact of physical pain is the damage done to interpersonal relationships. They say people lash out at those closest to them; and those in pain lash out more often and more aggressively than others.”

“Although I always want to alleviate pain for my patients, their anguish is felt even more acutely during the holidays,” Dr. Vengurlekar says. “During this special time of the year, we should be focused on spending quality time with family and friends.” For this reason, most of all, Premier Pain Institute welcomes new patients to its practice – regardless of the time of year. Those who want to manage pain effectively (and without the use of addictive narcotics) should contact Premier Pain Institute at or (480)314-2288.