chronic pain Research

Half of people with anxiety or depression also report chronic pain

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“The dual burden of chronic physical conditions and mood and anxiety disorders is a significant and growing problem,” said Silvia Martins, MD, PhD, associate professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, and senior author. Science Daily

It was a survey of people with anxiety, depression or bipolar. And half were found to suffer from chronic pain, according to Journal of Affective Disorders and Columbia Universitys’ mailman School of Publis Health.

It looked at 5,037 adults in São Paulo, Brazil to examine survey date and see if there was associations between DSM-IV diagnosed mental illnesses (mood and anxiety disorders) and self-reported chronic physical conditions. The subjects were then interviewed in person.

  • With mood disorders chronic pain was the most common with it being reported by 50%, followed by respiratory disease at 33%, cardiovascular disease at 10%, arthritis at 9%, hypertension 23%, and diabetes at 7%.
  • With anxiety chronic pain disorders were at 45%, respiratory, 30%, arthritis 11% and cardiovascular 11%, hypertension 23%.
  • People with 2 or more chronic illnesses had an increased odds of a mood or anxiety disorder.


“These results shed new light on the public health impact of the dual burden of physical and mental illness,” said Dr. Martins. “Chronic disease coupled with a psychiatric disorder is a pressing issue that health providers should consider when designing preventive interventions and treatment services — especially the heavy mental health burden experienced by those with two or more chronic diseases.” Science Daily


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