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COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY FOR CHRONIC PAIN AND DEPRESSION…

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT )is now a well known therapy for many different health problems, including chronic pain and other chronic illnesses. This is because physical health problems can affect people’s moods and their lives in so many different and distressing ways.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that aims to help you manage your problems by changing how you think and act, and showing people how to recognize and change unhelpful ways of thinking and behaving. This allows them to be less affected by unhelpful moods and to enjoy life more, even if they still have pain. Over the last couple of decades cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has become an accepted first line psychosocial treatment which can help patients to deal with chronic pain, including low back pain.

The NHS add it to their talking therapies list which are offered in different ways, including

  • using a self-help workbook with the support of a therapist
  • as an online course
  • over the phone
  • one-to-one
  • in a group

At its simplest, it is a technique for helping people replace habitual negative thinking with positive thinking, by getting them to see the glass as half full not half empty.

CBT encourages you to talk about:

  • how you think about yourself, the world and other people 
  • how what you do affects your thoughts and feelings 

By talking about these things, CBT can help you to change how you think (‘cognitive’) and what you do (‘behaviour’), which can help you feel better about life. 

It’s now available on the NHS and CBT usually involves weekly or fortnightly sessions with a therapist. The number of sessions required varies greatly depending on your problems and objectives, with treatment usually lasting from six weeks to six months.

One patient said, ‘I was able to move forward and learn to cope and accept my pain. They taught me how to pace myself better and that in turn meant I was able to laugh again a bit more often, instead of just thinking about my pain all the time’.

The best way to try CBT for chronic pain is to talk to your GP first who will have a list of professional CBT therapists. They can then point you in the right direction for getting your treatment. Of course, there are waiting lists for this type of treatment on the NHS but you could always see someone privately.

Source: NHS

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HOW THE SIMPLE ACT OF WRITING CAN HELP YOU OVERCOME THE BLUES MANY OF US ARE SUFFERING FROM AT THE MOMENT…

With everything that is going on in the world today it is no surprise than many people are feeling low. The dark short and sunless days just add to a feeling of lowness.

Photo by Matej on Pexels.com

Obviously, it is certainly no surprise to read that people who suffer from chronic pain can also suffer from feeling depressed at times which will be worse at this time of year.

According to Happiful Magazine many of us are worried about someone’s mental health this Christmas. Happiful say that according to a survey of more than 2,000 UK adults by the Mental Health Foundation, over half (54%) are worried about the mental health of someone they know this Christmas. As we enter the festive season, significant numbers of people are expressing their concern for the mental health of relatives (38%), friends (31%), partners/spouses (27%) and children (28%).

With news of a vaccine, there’s a taster of hope on the horizon; two in five (42%) said they are feeling happy, hopeful or excited about the season. Yet, despite this, nearly a third (31%) reported feeling anxious or stressed as we approach Christmas.

So, now is the time for giving kindness to someone else be it a phone call, text message or what I have found has really cheered me up this year, an old fashioned letter. Research shows that an act of kindness demonstrates our concern for another’s vulnerability. It can help someone feel appreciated and has the power to reduce stress, improve mood, self-esteem and happiness.

It was my other half’s special birthday yesterday and I wanted to make it special for him so I contacted everyone I could think of to tell them he was celebrating a big birthday and asked if they had time on Sunday to get into contact with him.

He was completely overwhelmed with all the constant messages coming through on his phone, FaceTimes with friends and lots of good wishes from people on Facebook for him. He said it was the best birthday he has ever had and loved the surprises I had arranged for him. That simple act of kindness from people he knew made it very very special for him.

But I am sure many of you, like myself have written notes in your Christmas cards this year. I have a slight tremor in my right hand which means my writing is far from neat so I typed my messages out and popped them in with the cards. One of my friends wrote back with a long and newsy letter and I found out more from that letter this year than I have found out over the past 10 years. It made me want to write back straight away to give her more of my news and thank her for the lovely letter.

The post is expensive but an email letter can be just as nice. You can dress up your email to make it look pretty if you think it looks a bit business-like. After going through all my contact list for my husband’s birthday messages I made a note of many of them I only hear from once a year with a Christmas card as I plan to write each and every one of them all my news from over the last 12 months. I have even had a few pictures of my granddaughter printed to pop into some of them as unless they have a Facebook page will never have seen a picture of her.

Think of someone you know or someone you know are low at the moment or on their own and contact them somehow to make their day.

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FEELING EXHAUSTED ALL THE TIME ? IS YOUR BRAIN TRYING TO TELL YOU SOMETHING?…

Many people suffering from any form of chronic pain suffer from lack of energy which can be caused by the pain they are in and also certain medications, but is your brain trying to tell you something ?

Lack of energy is one of the main symptoms of depression and combined with other symptoms like feeling down or hopeless, little interest or pleasure in activities you normally enjoy, feeling worthless or guilt, disrupted sleep, changes in appetite, problems concentrating or suicidal thoughts. Any or all of these can be a real sign that you may be suffering from depression.

I decided to highlight this during Mental Health Month. Many people suffering from chronic pain can feel alone especially with the COVID-19 virus putting in lockdown. This can then put many of us at a greater risk of depression and so it is essential you get help when you need it.

It is important that you talk to you GP first who may initially offer antidepressants but there is access to CBT ( Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) which is well known to help with depression.

Light therapy can help especially during winter months but at the moment we have enough light and sun to give us adequate amounts to lift our spirits. Unfortunately not everyone has access to the fresh air and sun due to difficulty getting outside because of our condition so help for them is very important.

There are other tips to help boost your energy levels which can have a positive effect on how you feel. The classic tips are to avoid junk food, curb your alcohol intake, exercise for energy, cut down on caffeine, check your Iron intake and Vitamin D levels.

You are certainly not on your own with this you only have to look online starting with the NHS Every Mind Matters, and Mental Health.Org,

The Houston Press say “Mental health experts are predicting a second pandemic of sorts, an epidemic born from coronavirus worries and lockdowns.”

Therapy For You wrote “May is National Walking Month, where you’re encouraged to leave the motor at home and stretch your legs exploring every space the UK has to offer. Even just a 20-minute walk around your area can do wonders for your mental wellbeing, from helping you get more sleep at night to encouraging helpful hormones that boost positivity.”

Mind have a great article on how CBT works. “ CBT is usually a short-term treatment, so you wouldn’t be expected to continue with the treatment for a long time. For example, a course of CBT might be delivered in 12 hour-long weekly sessions, spread across 12 weeks. In some areas, you may be offered four sessions initially, with the opportunity for more if you need them.“Some research suggests that computerised CBT could be helpful for some people, although it’s not yet known how well it works.”

Whatever is available you first need to speak to your GP about how you are feeling and he will point you in the right direction.