In fact our brains handle physical pain and social pain in a very similar way, with overlapping brain circuits involved in both processes.

How Chronic Stress Produces Pain

With the pain come fatigue and sleeplessness, depression and frustration, and a noticeable disinterest in so many of the activities that used to fill a day.

Chronic pain, lousy mood are chemically connected

It’s well established that chronic pain afflicts people with more than just pain.

 Chronic drug use may worsen the pain of social rejection

Two pain relief specialists argue that treating chronic pain with drugs can create a cycle of physical and social pain, increasing peoples’ risk of dependence and addiction.

Social rejection hurts, whether it is real or imagined. Nearly everyone will have felt the distress of unanswered messages or phone calls, for example, the perception that someone is avoiding us at a party.

While the physical pain of injury motivates people to avoid further tissue damage and allow time for healing, social pain prompts us to avoid further rejection — and perhaps look elsewhere for companionship.

As a social species, we depend on others for our survival and well-being, so it comes as no surprise that we are wired to find friendship rewarding and rejection hurtful.

Social Isolation

When chronic drug use compromises the body’s reward and pain relief system, the mutually reinforcing effects of physical and emotional pain create a vicious cycle.

“[R]ather than helping the pain for which the drug was originally sought, persistent drug use may be chasing the pain in a circular manner, diminishing natural rewards from normal sources of pleasure, and increasing social isolation.”

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