Basic description and management of pain(Part 2)

Effects of “pain”


Depression, personal distress[1]

When you do not enjoy what you do and when you cannot perform activities which you used to do, you become depressed. Depression is not a simple problem, and it has the following symptoms: (1) difficulty in concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions; (2) fatigue and decreased energy, (3) feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness, (4) feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism, (5) insomnia [difficulty in sleeping], early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping; (6) irritability, restlessness; (7) loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex; (8) overeating or loss of appetite, (9) persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not get well even with treatment; (10) persistently sad, anxious, or with “empty” feelings; (10) suicidal thoughts or attempts[2].

It is clear from the above that simple pain could lead to a more serious problem such as depression, and, worse, depression could lead to suicide! Thus, if you have persistent pain, it has to be addressed soonest!Its cause should be determined as soon as possible.

Difficulty in concentrating[1]

When you are suffering from pain, be it in low or high intensity, you cannot concentrate on whatever you do! The quality of your work will be adversely affected, and your productivity will significantly   decrease.

Social [1]

Diminished social relationships[1]

If you are not well and you have been experiencing pain, you tend to withdraw from the society and from friends. You do this not because you suddenly hate your friends but because you cannot withstand long engagement with them. Your attention span is lesser, and your body cannot tolerate prolonged physical activities, like talking, laughing, smiling, preparing foods, and the like. You do not like to frustrate your friends and other people, thus you withdraw from them!

Decreased sexual function, affection[1]

The drive for sex also decreases when you have been suffering from some degree of pain. This ramifies into bigger social problem because then your partner may not be able to understand your refusal to have sex! Your affection, too, becomes less and less, and you are irritable most of the time! All thesebewildering changes could   lead to break-up in marriage and other forms of relationship if adequate and effective communication does not take place between the partners in life. Thus, pain should be addressed with dispatch.

Altered appearance[1]

Grooming and cleanliness in oneself are also neglected if you have been experiencing pain.Your preoccupation on how to control your pain and the energy that you spend to tolerate it consume all your available time and strength that nothing is left for your personal grooming and cleanliness. You could hardly take a bath; you do not have time to change your clothes; you do not have the energy to buy and prepare new clothes for a particular gathering and party—and thus you withdraw from social interactions! All of these are brought about by the pain that lingers in you!

Increased caregiver burden[1]

When you experience pain—be it low or high intensity, be it interrupted or continuous—you tend to become dependent on someone. This change takes place not because you want it but because your capacity to help yourself is largely gone! Thus, your only resort is to ask help from a caregiver who could be a member of your family—a brother, sister—or a friend, or a professional caregiver. The pain paralyzes you, it limits your movements, and your world becomes smaller and smaller everyday—it shrinks!

(To be continued)


[1] United States. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, Clinical Practice Guideline, Number 9, Management of Cancer Pain, Rockville, March 1994.

[2]WebMD, Depression Health Center. Symptoms of depression.

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