Pain: Is it a Personality Thing?


Recent advances in neuroscience are unlocking how the major personality traits are linked to neural systems. One personality trait, Neuroticism, is linked to fear centers in the brain. People who scoring highly on this measure are very alert and sensitive to fear. One rich area I am exploring with Boswyn's inpateint detox service is the link between Neuroticism and withdrawal from drug and alcohol use. The underlying anxiety disposition of people undertakening withdrawal is strongly linked to the experience of pain discomfort they experience from benzodiazepines (click here), alcohol (click here), nicotine (click here) and opiates (click here). This may be because of a deeper neural link between fear sensitivity and pain sensitivity-put simply, are people more alert to threat because they are more senstive to pain? To read an interesting article in the Big Think that explores the relationships between personality traits and pain in humans and animal studies, click here.


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