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Psychological pain, also called sometimes psychalgia,[1] is any mental, or mind, or non-physical suffering. Emotional pain is a particular kind of psychological pain, more closely related to emotions. In the fields of social psychology and personality psychology, the term social pain is used to denote emotional pain caused by harm or threat to social connection; bereavement, embarrassment, shame and hurt feelings are subtypes of social pain.[2] Another kind of psychological pain that is commonly found is spiritual or soul pain.

Recent research in neuroscience suggests that physical pain and psychological pain may share some underlying neurological mechanisms.[3]

In recent years there has been some prominence to quite controversial lawsuits in which the plaintiff seeks redress for pain and suffering that are not physical at all but purely psychological.[citation needed]

See also


  1. Psychalgia: mental distress. Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary. But see also psychalgia in the sense of psychogenic pain.
  2. MacDonald, Geoff (2009). "Social Pain and Hurt Feelings". In Corr, Philip J.; Matthews, Gerald. Cambridge Handbook of Personality Psychology. Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521680514, 9780521680516.
  3. Eisenberger, Naomi I. and Lieberman, Matthew D. "Why rejection hurts: a common neural alarm system for physical and social pain". Trends Cogn Sci. 2004 Jul;8(7):294-300. PMID 15242688 doi:10.1016/j.tics.2004.05.010
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