September is National Pain Awareness Month. Chronic pain affects one-third of the United States population. Doctors frequently prescribe opioids for pain relief—but about 29% of people prescribed opioids go on to misuse them.
It’s no wonder that people want to take medication to ease their suffering. If you don’t live with chronic pain, imagine the last time some part of your body really hurt. It’s hard to function when you’re in pain. People with chronic pain often have to cancel plans, miss out on important life events, call out of work. They may lose large amounts of time to managing their symptoms, often to no avail.
People with chronic illness are at least two times as likely to have a mental health disorder. One study found that those with chronic illness are as much as four times as likely to have Depression and Anxiety.
The type of pain and the area it’s located impact risk for developing a mental health disorder. People with Fibromyalgia are five times more likely than those without it to have an Anxiety Disorder, particularly Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). People with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) are two times more likely to have Depression. They are also more likely to have Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder. Chronic migraines are associated with increased risk of Depression and Anxiety.
The reasons for this are multifaceted. In some cases, pain is one of the symptoms of a mental health disorder. In others, dealing with chronic pain increases stress, leading to symptoms of a mental health disorder. If someone has debilitating pain that prevents them from participating in everyday activities, they might become isolated, causing or exacerbating Depression or Anxiety.
Pain Awareness Month is important because it brings attention to this pervasive problem. Hopefully this encourages more funding for research on managing pain without fueling the opioid crisis.
If you are struggling with an Opioid Use Disorder or another addiction, there is hope. Amatus Recovery Centers offers high-quality, individualized treatment for substance use and mental health disorders. At our centers across the country, we will help you kick substances and build a life in long-term recovery. We offer Medication-Assisted Treatment to help ease some of the symptoms of withdrawal, curb cravings, and make the transition to abstinence much more comfortable. Call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.