Depression and chronic pain can easily be seen as the same. When someone complains of body pain, one of the first things asked is, “are you depressed?” When the first thing that should be asked is, “are you okay?”
It can be very damaging to someone when they are continually being asked if they are depressed when the truth is that they could very well be in pain.
Constant pain can cause depression, and depression can cause chronic pain. They typically go hand in hand, and once the cycle starts, it can be challenging to understand which comes first.
Depression: What is it and How is it Caused?
According to the Mayo Clinic, depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It affects how you feel, think, and behave and leads to various emotional and physical problems.
Something that can be hard to decipher between a feeling of sadness and depression is you typically can’t get rid of depression on your own or whenever you want to. Sadness can come and go, and sometimes it might not even last long.
With depression, you typically have to seek help in the form of therapy or medication.
Sometimes it just happens, or sometimes it might take a specific situation to set it off.
Chronic Pain: What is it and How is it Caused?
Verywell Health describes it as ongoing pain, whether it’s constant or frequently occurring. Some definitions say it’s chronic if it lasts for more than three months.
Very similarly to depression, there can be a cause such as Central Pain Syndrome, Arthritis, an Autoimmune disorder, etc., or it can be unknown.
Is There a Way to Tell a Difference Between the Two?
Yes, but it can be difficult to notice it on the outside looking in. It can be challenging for those suffering and doctors trying to treat the patients.
They both have similar approaches to treatments, diagnostic tests, and lifestyle changes. With everything, there is always a difference. We have to look deep to find it.
Regardless if they are different or the same, they are both debilitating. Neither can be “shaken off” or walked off. Until you go through one or the other, it is not anyone’s place to judge. Warriors need the people in their lives, including professionals, to listen and be there for them during the hard times. I, myself, am a chronic pain and depression warrior, and the last thing I want is anyone to tell me to walk it off or to get over it. We are forever strong and need to remind ourselves of that.