According to a recent news article by Rachel Noble Benner, a mental health counselor, chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts longer than three months. It affects more than 100 million sufferers in the United States alone, and for those who suffer from chronic pain caused by an illness or injury it may seem as if there is no end in sight to their misery.
Chronic pain is not merely one symptom or a limited experience like acute pain; it is usually accompanied by depression, fatigue, changes in appetite and trouble sleeping. It can hold sufferers back from wanting to socialize with family and friends, and it reduces their quality-of-life.
Chronic pain requires treatment by physicians using a holistic approach in order to relieve symptoms. Physical therapists should be able to reactivate injured muscles and retune a hyper-excited nervous system; exercise will help recover a patient’s nervous system by re-teaching nerves the difference between normal and harmful sensations, and counseling on a regular basis should help establish strengths, manage depression and anxiety, and develop relaxation techniques.
Original post in the Washington Post by Rachel Noble Benner
Reposted in News & Observer 1/20/15 http://bit.ly/1J3vquV
In 2012, suicides in the U.S. military were at a record high of 349, which was higher than the 295 American combat deaths in Afghanistan in 2012. This number is up from 301 in 2011. The Pentagon has had a difficult time dealing with this epidemic, which likely stems from military personnel being in combat for more than a decade in Afghanistan and Iraq, complicated by anxiety over being forced out of the military due to a “shrinking force.”
In 2011, 65% of soldiers who attempted suicide had a history of behavioral problems; however, only 45% of those who actually killed themselves had such a history. If there are signs that these service members were asking for help, they were not getting the help that they needed.
What’s interesting is that the U.S. military keeps statistics on suicides, and when the numbers go up to alarming rates the hope is that something will be done to investigate. For years, workers’ compensation lawyers have heard about suicides from employees who did not get proper medical care, who could not handle the abuse that sometimes happens within the system, and who could no longer stand the pain of permanent injuries, disability and resulting depression. But where are the statistics on these deaths? The insurance industry either has this information or it could get it. As a matter of public policy, should they be required to report it?
Work injury stress may bring about depression and suicidal thoughts, but suicide is preventable.
Several years ago I had declined to represent an injured truck driver until his wife called me and said she found a suicide note and asked me to reconsider. I did and was able to help him. I believe there is a connection between suicide and workers’ compensation. Clearly the pain of an injury, coupled with the stress of not being able to return to work can cause tremendous psychological strain.
One Texas doctor actually testified at a legislative hearing that prolonged decisions on workers’ compensation coverage in the state had lead to an increase in work’ comp’ related suicides in recent years. “The incidence of those reports has been astonishingly high compared to five years ago,” he told the legislators, “when they were, to my knowledge, nonexistent.”
Below are some signs that you or somebody you know may be at risk. This list of warning signals comes from the website of the American Psychological Association. If you see any of these signs, seek help from a doctor or therapist, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Continue reading