Depression and chronic pain are two of the most common health issues in the United States.
While they might seem like two completely separate afflictions, they share many similarities that often can create a cycle by feeding into each other.
This blog post will discuss depression and chronic pain, how they form a cycle, and how treatment can help break that cycle.
What Is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts for more than a few weeks. It can be caused by a variety of conditions, including:
- Nerve damage
Chronic pain can be extremely debilitating, making it hard to work, exercise, or do everyday activities. It’s estimated that over 20% of all U.S. adults suffer from chronic pain and that 8% of them deal with high-impact chronic pain, meaning it affects their ability to live a normal life.
Chronic pain is also one of the largest contributors to the opioid epidemic. Many doctors and health professionals prescribe highly addictive opioids for their patients to help deal with different types of chronic pain.
While opioids can be helpful in the short term, they often lead to more problems down the road and can become necessary for the person to function instead of helping push the chronic pain away.
What Is Depression?
Depression is a mental health condition characterized by feelings of sadness, emptiness, hopelessness, and fatigue. It can make it hard to concentrate, sleep well, or eat properly and can affect anyone but usually disappears within a few hours or days.
Major depressive disorder is when depression is constantly ongoing and takes hold of the rest of your life. Studies show that over 17 million Americans adults suffer from major depressive disorder, with 1.9 million children also feeling the same effects.
What Are the Symptoms of Depression?
The symptoms of depression can vary from person to person, but there are some common signs:
- Persistent feelings of sadness or emptiness
- Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Overeating or appetite loss
- Anxiety and irritability
- Difficulty concentrating
- Fatigue and decreased energy levels
- Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
While depression is usually seen as a mental health issue, it can also cause physical symptoms, including:
- Stomach problems
- Muscle aches and pains
Depression can quickly spiral out of control and leave devastating effects on those suffering as well as on their friends and family. The symptoms of depression can be very difficult to see because many of them are easy to hide.
How Do Depression and Chronic Pain Form a Cycle?
Depression and chronic pain will often feed into each other and create a vicious cycle.
If someone suffers an accident or is diagnosed with one of the many conditions that lead to chronic pain, that person might become depressed because of the constant pain and big changes in their life that they will have to make because of it.
On the other side, the negative thoughts and feelings associated with depression can make it hard to do anything, including taking care of oneself.
This can lead to neglecting important self-care activities, such as eating properly or exercising. The lack of exercise and proper nutrition can lead to weight gain, putting even more strain on the body and leading to the formation of chronic pain.
The person affected may start withdrawing from social activities and become isolated. Once chronic pain and depression settle in, it can be hard to find a way out.
The depression might make the person not want to face places where the pain becomes most severe, like at work or in physical activity. Chronic pain might make it hard for the person to do anything that would help with depression, such as going outside or talking to friends.
It’s a difficult cycle to break, but it is possible with treatment.
How Ketamine Can Help Break the Cycle
Ketamine has been shown to be an effective treatment for depression, chronic pain, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Ketamine can help break the cycle of depression and chronic pain by numbing the body to pain and helping to change the way the brain processes negative thoughts.
The treatment works by blocking the NMDA receptor, which helps change how depression and chronic pain are experienced. Essentially, ketamine infusions allow the brain to reset and restore important nerve connections.
While regular medication like antidepressants helps treat the depression symptoms, they can take weeks or months to work. On the other hand, using opioids to deal with chronic pain symptoms, as we mentioned previously, can leave those taking them with dangerous addiction problems.
A ketamine infusion can provide relief for up to six weeks, and multiple infusions can provide even longer-term relief. The beneficial effects start within days or hours of getting the treatment and don’t come with the negative effects of using traditional medications.
Genesis Ketamine Centers Offers Hope To Those Suffering
Genesis Ketamine Centers provides our patients the opportunity to break the cycle of depression and chronic pain.
Our founder, Samuel Grodofsky, MD, is a pain management physician and anesthesiologist. He has created a unique program that combines depression and chronic pain treatment into one, using ketamine infusions to help those suffering get their lives back.
Here at Genesis Ketamine Centers, we meet with all of our patients to create a plan that works for them and is custom-made for their symptoms. Our team is deeply involved in each patient’s care and will be with them every step, including answering any questions or concerns they have along the way.
If you or a loved one is suffering from depression, chronic pain, or both, please reach out to us. Genesis Ketamine Centers offers every patient a completely free consultation to see if our program is the right fit for you.
You don’t have to suffer any longer — Genesis Ketamine Centers can help you on the road to managing your depression and chronic pain.