Chronic Pain Linked to Depression
who have major depression are at increased risk for chronic pain,
In telephone interviews of 18,980 Europeans
(age 15 to 100), about 17% reported having at least one chronic
such as joint, limb, or back pain; headache; or a gastrointestinal
disease like peptic ulcer, gastritis, or Crohn’s disease.
This rate increased to 28% for people with at least one depressive
symptom (17% of the study sample), and to 43% for people with
major depression (4% of the study sample). People with major
depression had a fourfold increased risk of having a chronic
pain condition compared with people without major depression.
The average period of depressive episodes was lengthened by about
six months in people with chronic pain.
Pain may trigger depression
in some people, while depression may occur before pain in others,
the authors note. “Patients
seeking consultation for a [chronic painful physical condition]
should be systematically evaluated for depression,” they
Archives of General Psychiatry
Volume 60, page 39