People with depression and anxiety can suffer from chronic pain, finds study

People with depression and anxiety can suffer from chronic pain, finds study

Mental illnesses can be chronic depending on the level of severity and have afflicted millions across the globe. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), approximately one in five adults in the U.S., i.e., 43.8 million, or 18.5 percent of the population, experience mental illness in a given year.

Anxiety and depression are two of the most commonly diagnosed mental health illnesses in the U.S. These can be caused due to biological, psychological and genetic factors, or a combination of these, and can affect anyone at any stage of life.

While it is well-known that mental health issues can be triggered due to physical ailments, a recent research conducted on adults with anxiety or a mood disorder like depression or bipolar disorder (BD) found that around half such adults also suffer from chronic pain.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and published online in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

50 percent adults with mood disorders affected by chronic pain

A sample of approximately 5,037 adults in São Paulo, Brazil was studied to analyze the link between DSM-IV-diagnosed mood and anxiety disorders and chronic physical conditions that were shared by the individuals themselves. This was then followed up with a personal interview.

The findings showed that chronic pain affected approximately 50 percent of the adults with mood disorders. Respiratory diseases were reported by around 33 percent of the adults with mood disorder followed by 10 percent being affected by cardiovascular diseases, 9 percent by arthritis and 7 percent by diabetes.

It was also found that approximately 45 percent of the people with chronic pain were also affected by an anxiety disorder. Around 30 percent of these were found to have respiratory problems, and 11 percent each had arthritis and cardiovascular diseases. The researchers also said that the risk of developing a mood or anxiety disorder is higher among individuals affected by two or more chronic diseases. Both, anxiety disorder and chronic pain disorder, were also found to be associated with hypertension at 23 percent.

Silvia Martins, MD, PhD, associate professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, and senior author, said that the findings reveal the impact physical and mental illnesses have on public health. “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,” said Martins.

Mental illnesses are treatable

It is important to ensure that a mental health disorder is diagnosed without much delay. This will ensure that the necessary support and help is provided at the right time. To enable a proper diagnosis of the condition, it is better to be aware about the common symptoms of the condition. A few of these include feeling sad or low, confused thinking, inability to concentrate, excessive fears and worries, extreme mood swings, changes in eating habits, etc.

Treating mental illnesses is possible if one seeks help from an experienced health care expert. A combination of medications, therapies, counselling sessions, etc., can help one recover and feel better. But, it is important that one chooses the right mix of all the options as the treatment varies from person to person.

If you or someone you know is dealing with anxiety, depression or some other mental health disorder, Sovereign Health can help you connect with facilities offering generalized anxiety disorders treatment in California. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866-973-7164 or chat online with one of our representatives to know about the best generalized anxiety treatment centers in California or some other part of the U.S.


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