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Depression and pain 

Depression and pain
Chapter:
Depression and pain
Author(s):

Andy Moore

and Mike Jorsh

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199212613.003.0010
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date: 15 April 2021

Pain is subjective and involves not just physical sensation but also affective, cognitive, and behavioural components.

The aetiology of depression is multifactorial, and pain may be a highly significant contributing factor to a depressive episode.

Depression more commonly follows pain than vice-versa, though pain experience can be modified by depression whatever the temporal sequence.

Depression, like other forms of psychological distress, can be expressed as pain, through as yet unknown mechanisms.

Management of comorbid pain and depression must be holistic, with attention given to both physical and emotional aspects of the patient.

Whilst treatment of both chronic pain and depression needs to be tailored to take account of older age (e.g. drug doses), the underlying principles of treating both together are predominantly the same regardless of age.

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