How the buzzword “catastrophizing” stigmatizes people with chronic pain

By Gwenn Herman, LCSW, DCSW

The first time I heard the word “catastrophizing” being used to describe the pain experience on a national level was at a chronic pain lecture at the National Institutes of Health. It sent shivers through my body.

After 25 years of living with chronic pain and 20 years working with the pain community as a clinical social worker, I have become an expert in the field and what it takes to fight to take back your life from intolerable, daily pain while creating a quality of life. I was horrified at the use of this pejorative word and voiced my reaction.

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