There are nearly 40 million American adults living with severe or significant chronic pain, according to the National Institutes of Health. Chronic pain affects more people than cancer, diabetes and heart disease combined.
Chronic pain is devastating and can be a challenge to treat. Pain also causes depression and depression leads to decreased function, poor treatment outcomes and further healthcare costs. About half of people with chronic pain are also depressed, according to a recent study in the Journal of Affective Disorders.
“The dual burden of chronic physical conditions and mood and anxiety disorders is a significant and growing problem,” wrote senior author Silvia Martins, MD, associate professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health.
Pain experiences are different for each person and your response to chronic pain depends on how you feel pain, and thoughts and behaviors related to your underlying pain conditions.
When pain invades every aspect of your life and leaves you uncertain of the future, anxiety, sadness, anger and grief are imminent. For many, the burden is so difficult, it leads to major depressive disorder, also known as clinical depression.