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July Newsletter

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 August 2020
Sleep & Pain lab

Hello friends of the Warwick Sleep & Pain lab

Thank you for your ongoing support of our research activity at our lab.
We hope that this newsletter finds you safe and well.

In this month’s newsletter, the WITHIN research team talks about their research on mental defeat and why it is important to look at this phenomenon in the context of chronic pain. We also provide you with the latest update of the research going on in our lab.
Please feel free to forward this email to anyone who might be interested!

Best wishes,
The WITHIN team, on behalf of the Sleep & Pain Lab

Have you ever felt like chronic pain changes how you perceive yourself?

We have come a long way in our understanding of pain. Chronic pain is a seriously disabling condition that affects around 8 million people in the UK alone. It can have a tremendous impact on quality of life and can be difficult to manage as current treatment options are limited. Living with chronic pain may also put you at greater risk for developing other health conditions.

It is important to understand the factors that determine whether an individual is able to feel right and function well- despite the pain- so that current interventions can be improved and help people to live well with chronic pain.
Woman staring out the window with a pensive look.
Skeeze via PIXABAY
Our research explores a new phenomenon in relation to chronic pain, known as mental defeat, by which we mean “disabling and negative thoughts about yourself in relation to your chronic pain”.
“Some people with chronic pain report a sense of “defeat of the mind”, ‘‘the pain is taking over and you cannot cope with what you are supposed to do,’’ ‘‘the pain belittles you as a person,’’ and ‘‘it’s like you’re not a human being.’’ These thoughts summarise the patients’ experience of pain as an ‘‘enemy’’ that encroaches upon their autonomy and personal integrity.”

Tang et al., (2007). Mental defeat in chronic pain: Initial exploration of the concept. Clinical Journal of Pain
There is, understandably, still a lot of confusion around mental defeat in chronic pain among patients, clinicians, and academics alike. In particular, it is not always clear how it might be functionally different from other, better known, constructs in chronic pain. From previous research we know that mental defeat is concerned with how you think about yourself in relation to pain. With our research, we are trying to get a better understanding of how it might relate to symptom severity, distress and disability.

Chronic pain is serious and complex and can have an enormous impact on how people think about themselves and their identity. Getting a better understanding of mental defeat in chronic pain has the potential to lead to more efficient management options for chronic pain.
Woman drinking a cup of tea/coffee in front of a laptop.
StockSnap via PIXABAY
Can you help us gain a better understanding of mental defeat in chronic pain? We want to hear from people who have chronic pain, who may or may not be experiencing mental defeat, to take part in our ongoing study into mental defeat and chronic pain.
“In my chronic pain clinic, a very high number of people present with low mood, anxiety, hopelessness and functional disability. Whilst pain medicines and injection treatments help them to an extent, without addressing the psychological aspects of the person, satisfactory management of chronic pain is almost impossible. I am a clinical collaborator on the WITHIN study, to try and understand the factors that disrupt individual's happiness and successful living. The knowledge acquired from this research will help us provide better and comprehensive care to the long-term pain sufferers."

Dr Shyam Balasubramanian, Consultant in Pain Medicine & Anaesthesia, UHCW NHS Trust and Clinical Collaborator on the WITHIN study.
Participants must complete a short online screening questionnaire to ensure they are eligible for the study – which takes approximately 10-15 minutes to complete. The screening questionnaire can be found here. If eligible, participants are then directed to the main questionnaire automatically. The questionnaire takes approximately 30-45 minutes to complete and will be repeated three times across the course of one year.

Any queries or concerns can be addressed via email to .
New paper published!
We are pleased to have our systematic review accepted for publication! Our review highlights the interesting relationship between sleep disturbances, psychotic symptoms and functioning in young people at risk of psychosis. It raises many fascinating questions around the role of sleep in the development of psychotic disorder and whether sleep may be an important target for treatment in at risk youth.

Click here to download the paper for free.
Recruitment updates

Thank you to all the participants who have participated in Arman’s study entitled “Psychological Factors Associated with Sleep Quality”.We've had a great response, with over 360 participants completing the 1-year follow up. The aim of the study was to investigate the association between self-compassion and sleep. We will send all participants a summary of the findings in due course.
Staff updates

Welcome to our latest lab member, Katharine Mcenery who has joined the lab as a Research Assistant working on the RECOVERS study!
Huge congratulations to our lab member Jenna Gillett, who has been offered a PhD fellowship in Psychology at Warwick University to start in November this year! Luckily she will remain part of the lab and we wish her all the best on this new venture!

This does that we are now recruiting for a new Research Assistant in Psychology to join the WITHIN study starting from this November. Deadline 18th August, for details click here.
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Department of Psychology
Sleep & Pain Lab
University of Warwick
West Midlands, CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

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WITHIN study · Department of Psychology · Sleep and Pain lab · Coventry, CV4 7AL · United Kingdom

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