Millions of people who suffer from chronic pain also feel guilty about doing so. The guilt that many people who have chronic pain experience is something that has not been looked at much within the medical community, but it is something that impacts people on a daily basis. Those who have health-related guilt may suffer more as a result, becoming a factor that should be identified and addressed.
A study published in the May 2021 issue of the British Journal of Health Psychology looked at health-related guilt in relation to having chronic pain . Researchers conducted a systemic review to gain an understanding of the health-related guilt that was present in those who have chronic pain. To conduct the review, they searched four major databases for papers that had been published on the topic. They ended up using data from a total of 16 studies that have touched on the topic.
Themes in Health-Related Guilt Cases
The research turned up three major themes that had been reported on in the previous research. These included the following.
- Management of chronic pain
- Diagnostic uncertainty or legitimizing pain
- How the person impacted others by their action or inaction.
The health-related guilt that many people with chronic pain experience is from coping with the condition and the decrease in quality of life that it often brings about.
Like what you’re learning? Download a brochure for our online, postgraduate pain medicine certificate or master’s degree program in partnership with the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
Guilt and Chronic Pain Management
The researchers concluded that health-related guilt is an important psychological factor that many people with chronic pain experience, and those who have more pain tend to have more guilt. They suggest that there should be more research conducted on the topic and that the issue should be addressed in helping people to manage chronic pain.
Those who have chronic pain may feel guilty because they are unable to do things they want to do. They may feel that they are letting others down, or they believe they are doing something wrong or intentional. The guilt can lead to more issues, such as depression, making it something that should be addressed.
Those who experience health-related guilt can help to avoid those feelings by engaging in a number of practices, including focusing on what you can do, looking for the positive, practicing gratitude, and forgiving yourself. By not blaming yourself and doing what you can with a good attitude, you may increase your quality of life and avoid the guilty feelings. Those who have difficulty reducing health-related guilt should speak with a therapist who can help them with therapeutic options.
Earn an Online Postgraduate Degree in Pain Medicine
Like what you’re learning? Consider enrolling in the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC’s online, competency-based certificate or master’s program in Pain Medicine in partnership with the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
- British Journal of Health Psychology. Health-related guilt in chronic primary pain. May 2021.
The information and resources contained on this website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to assess, diagnose, or treat any medical and/or mental health disease or condition. The use of this website does not imply nor establish any type of provider-client relationship. Furthermore, the information obtained from this site should not be considered a substitute for a thorough medical and/or mental health evaluation by an appropriately credentialed and licensed professional. Commercial supporters are not involved in the content development or editorial process.