What to Do When Bipolar Depression Meets Chronic Pain

It’s not uncommon for people dealing with bipolar depression to have a co-existing condition of chronic pain; here’s three ways to get the symptoms under control:


#1 Manage your stress

For many the basic emotion of stress, in any situation, can be an immediate trigger for a pain flare-up. If you’re one of those, you’ll need to find ways to manage stress; either by changing the behavior that causes the stress, or by learning to deal with it through mindfulness and breathing techniques, exercise, journaling and learning coping skills.


#2 Seek an integrative solution

The best outcomes have come when patients undergo a multifaceted approach—receiving treatment from both a mental health professional and a physician. Receiving monitoring and treatment simultaneously from experts in each area will offer a better chance for recovery. An example of a multi-disciplinary approach is receiving psychotherapy, antidepressant medication and visiting a pain rehabilitation program.


#3 Communicate the problem

A common issue has been that many patients do not speak to their medical physicians about their depression. Some believe that once their pain problem is resolved then the depression will go away. However, there is usually a vicious circle at play and the effects of having a chronic pain problem itself can contribute to or trigger a depressive episode for people with bipolar. It’s important to have open communication with your physician so you can receive the appropriate care.


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