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The Link Between Depression and Pain

Physical pain is a common, but often ignored, symptom of depression. A study published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine found that two-thirds of people starting treatment for depression also reported being in physical pain. The most commonly cited symptoms were frequent headaches, back pain, joint pain, and abdominal pain.

What's the connection between pain and depression? Research shows that the two share common chemical pathways. The brain chemicals serotonin and norepinephrine are known to play key roles in depression. Now researchers believe these neurotransmitters also mediate pain.

Recommended Related to Depression

Helping a Depressed Loved One

When depression strikes, the depressed person isn't the only one affected. Everyone around him or her -- family, friends, and co-workers -- feels the impact. Helping a loved one cope with depression can be key to his or her recovery. But it isn't always going to be easy. Here are some tips: Get the facts. The first thing you should do is learn more about depression. Read up on the causes and treatments for depression. Get other people involved. You can't do this alone. Your friend...

Read the Helping a Depressed Loved One article > >

The good news? In the study, people who responded well to treatment for depression also reported less pain as they got better.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on September 07, 2014

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