Deniz Kocas

Deniz Kocas is studying for her MA in Psychology at The New School and is aspiring to become a clinical psychologist. She has a background in pharmacy and health policy, and has worked within the National Health Service in England and the pharmaceutical sector in Belgium and Turkey.

 

Comparing opioid and nonopioid therapy for chronic pain

Over the last few decades, North-America and Europe show continued increase in prescription rates of opioids. Evidence shows significant pain reduction with opioids in the short term compared to placebo, however whether opioids are superior to non-opioids even in the short-term and whether long-term treatment with opioids is effective is still under debate. Therefore, researchers from Germany investigated the long-term benefits of opioid analgesics (OA group) for chronic pain in comparison to nonopioid non-opioid analgesics (NOA group). Findings showed that…

Key Points Lay Summary

“Free butterflies will come out of these deep wounds”: A grounded theory of how endometriosis affects women’s psychological health

Researchers from the Catholic University of Milan and the University of Milan note in Journal of Health Psychology that although qualitative research describes the negative impact of endometriosis on quality of life and psychological well-being, studies that analyze individual differences between women are lacking. Therefore, they conducted a grounded theory study aimed at providing a broader understanding of how endometriosis affects women’s psychological health, specifically looking at differences between distressed and non-distressed women. Both distressed and non-distressed participants reported common…

Key Points Lay Summary

Impact of coping strategies on quality of life of adolescents and young women with endometriosis.

González-Echevarría et al. report in J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol. that symptoms caused by endometriosis have been found to be associated with negative quality of life (QoL) in women with endometriosis and the type of coping strategies adopted by patients have been shown to impact QoL. Coping strategies are categorized as either ineffective (maladaptive) or effective (adaptive) in managing stressful life events. The authors revealed that when dealing with symptoms of a chronic and painful disease, it has been shown that the adaptive…

Key Points Lay Summary

Pain catastrophizing, perceived injustice, and pain intensity impair life satisfaction

Cognitive appraisals have been shown to have an effect on the experience of pain. Notably, perceived injustice and pain catastrophizing have been shown to play a role, but are rarely examined together. In addition, variability in appraisal processes has been shown to be related to adjustment and recovery outcomes, such as depression and pain-related interference, which may impact the quality of life. Therefore, the authors of this study from the University of Washington, Stanford Systems Neuroscience and Pain Laboratory and the University of Alabama; investigated the…

Key Points Lay Summary

Predictors of psychological distress

Studies have now established that endometriosis can negatively impact mental health and quality of life, however, some studies show that not all women with endometriosis are necessarily more distressed than healthy women. This suggests that individual differences may explain women’s’ subjective experience of endometriosis, which could include an individual women’s self-esteem and self-efficacy. This study by Faccin et al. from Italy, published in the journal "Human Reproduction" entitled "Mental health in women with endometriosis: searching for predictors of psychological distress"…

Key Points Lay Summary

Pain cognition and pain intensity are negatively associated with health-related quality of life

Pain is a personal experience and is different for every individual. Catastrophizing, fear of pain, and hypervigilance to pain are important factors that contribute to pain perception. These factors are described as pain cognition and refer to the negative appraisal of pain, including anxiety surrounding the pain and a constant focus on the pain experience. The effect of pain cognition can sometimes be so severe that it interferes with the effectiveness of medical therapy. The authors hypothesized that pain cognition…

Key Points Lay Summary

Ambiguous experience: Destructive or Constructive

A diagnostic delay of 4-12 years is reported among women with endometriosis, which is explained by the lack of awareness of endometriosis as a medical condition among patients and healthcare professionals. In searching for a diagnosis, patients encounter many healthcare professionals (HCPs), however, little research has explored their experiences. The purpose of this study was to provide an insight to the healthcare experiences of women with endometriosis. Nine women with endometriosis were interviewed and were analyzed using an interpretative phenomenological…

Key Points Lay Summary

Coping with vulvovaginal pain in intimate situations

Chronic vulvovaginal pain has a serious impact on women’s lives, affecting daily activities including sexual activities. Avoiding sexual activity has been shown to be a central coping strategy in other pain populations and has also been seen in women with vulvovaginal pain, but there is limited support for the impact over time. Avoidance behavior is important as it mediates the link between pain catastrophizing and pain-related outcomes. An alternative coping strategy for women with vulvovaginal pain considers endurance: instead of avoiding…

Key Points Lay Summary

Psychosocial impact of endometriosis

In this review article, researchers from Switzerland report a review to outline the consequences of endometriosis on the psychological, sexual, and interpersonal functioning of both patients and their partners, in the journal Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology. Women with endometriosis experience a wide range of pelvic pain, which has four key consequences on patients: psychological, sexual, relationship, and social. Women with endometriosis report heightened psychological distress, including higher levels of pain catastrophizing, stress and more depression and…

Key Points Lay Summary