The relationship between Anxiety or Depression and Chronic pain

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The relationship between Anxiety or Depression and Chronic pain

According to a recent survey conducted at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, about half of the adults suffering from anxiety or a mood disorder like depression or bipolar disorder reported experiencing chronic pain.

Silvia Martins, MD, PhD, associate professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, and the senior author feels that the dual burden of chronic physical conditions along with mood and anxiety ailments is becoming an important worldwide concern. 

The researchers investigated the associations between DSM-IV-diagnosed mood and anxiety disorders and self-reported chronic physical conditions. A total of 5,037 adults were included and also interviewed in person. DSM-IV-TR was used to analyse the relationship between the chronic physical condition and mood & anxiety disorders.

Chronic pain was found to be the most common issue in patients with a mood disorder as reported by 50% of participants followed by respiratory diseases at 33%, cardiovascular disease at 10%, arthritis reported by 9% and diabetes by 7%. Anxiety ailments were also common for patients with chronic pain at 45%, respiratory at 30%, cardiovascular disease & arthritis at 11% each. Participants suffering from two or more chronic diseases had increased odds of a mood or anxiety disorder. Hypertension was found to be connected with both mood and anxiety diseases at 23%.

Dr. Martins believes that results of the present survey highlighted the seriousness of the dual burden of physical and mental illness. It is crucial for the healthcare providers to consider these issues while forming preventive or treatment strategies. 


Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health

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The original title of the article:

Half of adults with anxiety or depression report chronic pain


Melanie S. Askari, Laura Helena Andrade et al.

Exploratory, Pain, Chronic, Survey
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