Pain Concern
22,203 members7,547 posts



One problem many of us have with pain is reactive depression, with its general problems to our mental health. it goes like this

When in pain and other things are happening in your life the brain becomes busy with conflicting problems, I was dealing with family members with dementia.

So when in pain the brain becomes cluttered with problems that it cannot sort out, it can be known as Reactive Depression, your speech becomes laboured you forget what you are saying. You also forget far, middle and near memories, you suffer a great deal of tirdness you simmer with these problems and become further depressed as you are now not functioning. This can become very dangerous to that person and will feel that He/She is suffering from one of the dementias.You can also suffer anger and flustration because of it

With me I became frightened that I was getting dementia and would not accept what I was suffering from. So they decided to put me through all the tests, earlier I was given a brain scan, and now given all the tests associated with dementia, they confirmed it was the brain needing a holiday from working overtime.

What I am trying to say is that when the body suffers excessive pain it becomes confused.

What it did for me was to give an explanation on how the body works and how different health problems can lead to further problems not generally associated with chronic pain.

Now I feel more in control of my pain and I have a better understanding what pain can do.and how it can effect different parts of your life

All the best


15 Replies

Thanks Bob, yes I have a similar dual diagnosis and reading your blog makes a lot of sense to me. best wishes Daisy.


So tell mee please - how did your brain get its holiday?

Pat x


Hello Pat

My brain is still not here, it has taken an extended break, and refused to return

All the best BOB


Thanks Bob, most interesting. I can relate to that. I also sometimes think I have dementia, always forgetting things etc, but pain consumes you and puts all else to the side. I now have a habit of making lists of things to do. Meds I have taken during the day etc, My blackboard makes for interesting reading to strangers. I draw a smiley face, maybe I should,nt. People are going to think I have lost the plot. Ha ha. Have a relaxing Easter Ann


Bob its very true, and also irrational emotions (extremes at both ends) are an effect of chronic pain.

The psyche is very delicate and any slight changes upset it causing all these things.

Then on top of that you may add medication which may also have similar effects.

I think once you understand the process, its easier to accept and let it happen when it does. When its not a scary unknown, its a trigger to slow down and give your brain a rest.

Its not just confined to chronic pain, how many times do you hear the phrases - excuse me, I'm having a blond moment, or excuse me I am having a senior moment?

We do punish our brains with overstimulation and information processing, and its very hard not to with modern technology.


I do not believe in reactive depression. I am familiar with the symptoms because I have to live with them as a chronic pain sufferer.

I do believe that by avoiding pain killers of all sorts I can avoid as much as the brain foginess due to pain as possible. I have learnt that dealing with pain is a brain task that someone who is not in pain does not have to deal with.

I think of the brain as a computer with multi-tasking abilities. Dealing with pain is an extra task that screws up the brain's multitasking limits. I have found that I have had to restrict the number of tasks I am doing at a time. Not always possible which results in much forgetting of things I should have done.

The brain has fail safe mechanisms to prevent it from overheating etc. The pain control area can get over loaded and shut down the rest of the brain. I have experienced this on several occassions.

The solution to getting the best results. Study how you work. Find another chronic pain sufferer discuss the ideas of how you work with them and see if you have missed something.

Let me know if you think I have miss understood something.


Hello Johnsmith

BOB here

Reactive depression is a term used for those who suffer from chronic pain, and its circular symptoms, the person is unable to switch off from what they are suffering. You can if you wish call it depression it Is all the same,

When I was at work I needed to be able to multitask and was instructed too deal with up to six cases at once, when I began too suffer chronic pain and general living problems the brain will become tired. In fact you are saying that the brain will restrict the tasks and close down on too many problems, yes this is the is dealing with chronic pain.

When in chronic pain you can enter a place where the brain tells its owner I cannot do anymore of this and goes into short circuit that makes the person become more forgetful you can if you wish it short circuits and switches off until it catches up

This for many chronic pain sufferers is not only alarming, it is frightening and the prognosis is self fulfilling and it reinforces the suffering that the person has, generally it can only be sorted by regular chats and sympathy reinforcing the person that dementia is not the problem.and giving encouragement

People in pain generally need to take medications to keep their lives on check, this has been the situation that I have found myself in for a long time now when flustration caused by this condition raises its head and makes you feel that you are in the early stages of dementia , not a very nice place too be

All the very best



Hi Bob

Thanks for the reply. I can see you have put a lot of thought into this. Sharing of ideas and experience is useful and helpful.

We both agree on the brain getting tired and needs to switch off and does. Try telling that to a GP or psyciatrist who is into prescribing their patients the latest anti-depressants for depression or reactive depression.

I think in terms of overload and a circuit breaker trips out rather than short circuits. I am having to explain to a young GP the problems of chronic pain. So your concept of short circuits may be a better metaphor. How did you come up with the concept of short circuit?

Last week I got my Local Health and Wellbeing board to insert management of a condition rather than just recovery into their health and wellbeing strategy. The next public meeting of the local Health and Well being board is in two months time and I am planning to tacking the CCG about personel health budgets. This why your thoughts, ideas and approach are important. I am looking for another pair of eyes on the problem.

What do you mean by regular chats and sympathy? My previous to last GP (now retired) did this. I am trying to get the replacement GP to do this with the greatest of difficulty. Would "understanding for your condition" be a better word than sympathy. Sorry to be predantic I am looking for words to tackle the local CCG with as well as the practice manager of the local GP surgery. What do you think?

I have picked up on your comments alarming and frightening. This did not apply to me, but I can see it applying to a lot of people. I have been doing Mindfulness for 35 years. The big thing at the moment in the NHS is CBT. I am trying to get Mindfulness provided by the NHS locally as a continous help for those with long term conditions. Do you think CBT can deal with the

"alarming and frightening" issue. Your thoughts would be most helpful?


Hello Johnsmith

Look at Paton you will see a further explanation regarding Reactive Depression I have not forgotten you although have had a few crisis lately and will get back to you soon

All the best



Just the right time for me to read this. Thank-you so much for sharing it. Have been slipping into a pit. tis reassuring to know that I am not the only one. Hey ho.

The word unremitting springs to mind. Unremitting bloody pain.


Johnsmith I work in a CCG in personal health budgets. If I can be of any help shedding light on it, let me know. Also I spoke to someone about CBT yesterday. Is it any good for pain management? Or at least getting to the point of acceptance?


You are right Bob, I can't multitask anymore and I have to live much more slowly. What's interesting and not mentioned here is that anyone with pain that isn't peripheral (ie. began at the spinal cord, base of brain or brain - the effect can rise with severity of injury or delay in treatment), their neurological matrix is messed up. This sounds like what you describe Bob, and I know I have it, diagnosed by top consultant. The brain doesn't know where to send it's messages any more and the body can't send any back, accurately, perpetuating the pain, and the confusion. For some people trauma processing will help, depending on how their pain started and the effect on their life, which we all know is major. Rowantree I think trauma work available on NHS would be a really good thing, and it would also help with processing all the losses. It cleared my mind a lot and got me to the point of acceptance, but it took over 3 years to come to terms with the loss of work and I'm still in treatment because I get bullied, by the NHS among others. In my view CBT is very much "think positive" which people don't have the energy for when in that space (I'm trained in psychodynamic psychotherapy so I don't think I will ever see CBT as more than a Band Aid, sorry). Good luck everyone.


I see this is the area of the cerebral, where we can try and talk ourselves into some sort of cul de sac, for in the end it is about mind over matter to a degree, but there are days when there are no amount of analytical jibber jabber will cut the mustard.

No because in the end we are Human beings marked out differently and brains trained differently, or experience makes you different, and I'm sorry to disagree about CBT I just do not think you can discuss out ,many, many problems over a cup of tea, people are not built the same and where some can talk themselves into thing's or out of thing's as the CBT method seems to think, but serious psychological problems gathered over a lifetime , are just not to blame for pain ,crippling pain.

physical pains may have developed by bad posture and such kind of things, but there are just as many people out there who because of communication problems or many other problems stay miles away from the medical profession because ? well let's just say that experience can make people avoid them.

I myself have lost all respect for the medical profession due to the way it's developed around money, because the minute you start trying to manage health along the lines of financial benefits of this and that over this and that.

No we must allow the doctors to have a free hand in financial matters, and not worry about cost's today, or even tomorrow, for keepings the purse strings tight all the time , only makes for a two tier ,or three tier NHS, developing more and more due to cost's, some people are seen as not worth the cost , or they smoke , or they are fat.

Excuse me for ranting a little, as it really get's up my nose when the cost's are constantly raised, as it begins to make "some" feel worse about themselves than is called for.

Some will argue we must worry about cost's, Why?


John, I have recently experienced an intensive three week programme of CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy ) as part of the Pain Management Programme which is broken down as 10% Pain Consultant, 45% Physio and 45% CBT with a Consultant Psychologist. A little like Mindfulness in that it deals with the here and now, the main thing is teaching how to manage pain by relaxation, self hypnosis, unhelpful thought stopping, goal identification and understanding how pain and the mind and body work together. There was a lot more to it than this. I was wary at first but learned a lot .


I am on the waiting list for CBT so hopefully it will help me


You may also like...