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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

Could Your Child Be Depressed?

By Jeannette MoningerIt's more than just the blues: Clinical depression among kids is on the rise. Here's how to tell if your child is suffering, and how to get help. At first, Andrea Carpenter* blamed preadolescent hormones for her 10-year-old daughter's moodiness. "Allie was extremely irritable at home, and she'd get snippy with her dad and me for no apparent reason," says the Marietta, GA, mom. Life at the Carpenters' home grew so tense that the family started seeing a counselor who, after a...

Read the Could Your Child Be Depressed? 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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