Dr. David B. Adams – Psychological Blog

Psychology of Illness, Pain, Anxiety and Depression

Frequency of Depression and Chronic Back Pain

Depression is the most common emotional response to chronic back pain and major (clinical) depression is the most concerning of this mood disorder. The symptoms of major depression occur daily for at least two weeks and include at least 5 symptoms:

[LIST]
[*]A predominant mood that is depressed, sad, blue, hopeless, low, or irritable, which may include periodic crying spells
[*]Poor appetite or significant weight loss or increased appetite or weight gain
[*]Sleep problem of either too much (hypersomnia) or too little (hyposomnia) sleep
[*]Feeling agitated (restless) or sluggish (low energy or fatigue)
[*]Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities
[*]Decreased libido
[*]Feeling of worthlessness and/or guilt
[*]Problems with concentration, memory or decision-making
[*]Thoughts of death, suicide, or wishing to be dead
[*]Major depression is thought to be four times greater in people with chronic back pain than in the general population.
[/LIST]
In research studies on depression in chronic low back pain, 32 to 82 percent of patients show some type of depression or depressive problem, with an average of 62.

In one study it was found that the rate of major depression increased in a linear fashion with greater pain severity, and it was also found that the combination of chronic back pain and depression was associated with greater disability than either depression or chronic back pain alone.

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