Healthy Living & Prevention in El Paso


Chronic Pain and Emotional Health

Chronic Pain and Emotional Health

04 Mar 2023 by Ted Escobedo   2 min read

Chronic pain and mental health disorders often occur together. In fact, research suggests that chronic pain and mental health problems can contribute to and exacerbate the other. People living with chronic pain are at heightened risk for mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders. Chronic pain can affect sleep, increase stress levels and contribute to depression. An estimated 35% to 45% of people with chronic pain experience depression. Pain can also be a common symptom among people with an anxiety disorder, particularly generalized anxiety disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). Anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders commonly occur at the same time as chronic pain from conditions like fibromyalgia, back problems, migraines and arthritis.
In a report, Mental Health America used data from its online mental health screening program to analyze the intersection between mental health and chronic pain. People who reported having arthritis or chronic pain were more likely to have several mental health conditions, including severe anxiety, severe depression, bipolar and PTSD. For example, among people taking the screening for depression, 47% of those with chronic pain screened positive for severe depression compared to 36% of those without chronic pain. The study found that older people more frequently reported chronic pain—about 60% of those age 65 and over reported they had chronic pain compared to 26% of those age 18 to 24. Among the population groups examined in the study, veterans and active-duty military members and caregivers were more likely than others to have chronic pain.
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