Support Groups for Chronic Pain Sufferers

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

group of happy friends meeting and talkingSuffering with chronic pain can be an isolating and lonely journey. The most simple tasks can become challenging, making it difficult for you or a loved one to maintain the freedom and independence that you once had.

Chronic pain can also trigger many other emotions and scenarios that can further complicate your situation or make it overwhelming to express and process the things you are experiencing.

Many times, people who suffer with chronic pain may find it harder to relate with other people. If you or a loved one has been suffering with chronic pain, either result from disease, accident, etc., you may find that it is challenging to engage in the activities that you once enjoyed. Individuals suffering from chronic pain may also find that their social circles change dramatically, particularly as they may be unable to maintain the friendships and relationship they once had.

Triggering Mental Disorders from Pain

Chronic pain can also be a factor that triggers other mental disorders, such as anxiety disorders or a mood disorder, such as depression. As a chronic pain sufferer, you may find yourself not only dealing with physical pan, but mental pain as well.

Mental health illnesses in themselves can be overbearing, and this can further distance you from the life you once had or prevent you from truly thriving in life.

When Drugs or Alcohol Come into Play

pillsFor some individuals suffering with chronic pain, a drug or alcohol may also be presented. Substance abuse may have been a problem before chronic pain developed, made worse by the presence of chronic pain, or even triggered by dependency on prescription drugs for pain management.

Drug and/or alcohol use may become a way to cope with chronic pain, but the reality is that substances cannot deal with the root of the problem and only worsen a situation.

If you have been suffering with chronic pain, it is important to be aware of the various complications that may result or the many obstacles you may face in your road to recovery. Knowing that you are not alone can help ease the pressure and loneliness that this journey often brings and encourage you to seek out resources for help and treatment.

Connecting with Others Who Are Suffering

Joining with others who may be experiencing similar situations can be relieving, encouraging and supportive. Talking to others who can understand and empathize with your position can be a healthy way to cope and process with the various challenges and struggles you may be facing.

Support groups are often structured in a way that provide a safe place for all group members to discuss, collaborate, and share in a confidential environment. The important aspect is that support groups rally individuals of similar nature together to lift one another up.

If you are lacking support or encouragement in your life as a chronic sufferer, you may consider if joining a support group is appropriate for you.

Understanding You Are Not Alone

Happy friends together outdoorBeing surrounded by other individuals who suffer with chronic pain can help you understand and comprehend that you are not alone in your journey. In a path that often feels so lonely and isolating, this fact alone can be reassuring.

Though you might feel nervous or worried about sharing openly with a group of strangers, you will likely find that your experiences allow you to bond with people more closely than other friendships you may have.

Searching for a Support Group for Pain

If you are interested in joining a support group for chronic sufferers, consider searching for a group close to you. You may consider contacting local treatment centers or health/wellness centers that treat chronic pain to find out if a support group if offered through their facility.

Above all, you should know that you are definitely not alone and that an entire community of people is here to support you and encourage you through the journey you find yourself on. Reaching out for help is the first and most important step towards making those connections.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What are resources that have been helpful to you or a loved one who has struggled with chronic pain? What support groups would you recommend to others dealing with chronic pain?

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on June 19th, 2015
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