Exploring correlation between pain and anxiety disorders

Exploring correlation between pain and anxiety disorders

Chronic pain is a common problem among Americans. According to a 2011 report by the Institute of Medicine Committee on Advancing Pain Research, Care, and Education, nearly 100 million adults in America suffer from chronic pain. Although most of the times pain is passed on as a trivial problem, it is actually one of the biggest problems in the United States.

It is not only the physical sensation of hurt, but also the complex comorbidity of physiological, emotional and psychological factors, that cripple the sufferer. For example, people going through a life-threatening situation or any mental disorder like anxiety or depression are more likely to suffer from pain than those leading happier lives. In anxiety-prone individuals, pain is associated with higher levels of anxiety and distress than those without the disorder. For an individual experiencing chronic pain, due to underlying psychological or physiological disorders, the severity of the condition generally progresses with time.

Pain is an outcome of the activity of the neurons located in the spinal cord and the brain. Also playing an important role are the sensory neurons called “nociceptors,” which are responsible for coding the pain messages to and fro from the site of pain to the brain. Nociceptors have myriad roles to play in the transition and relay of pain messages. While some signal the presence of harmful chemicals, others relay messages in case there is an injury to a body part. Nociceptors also differ from each other in the way they act. While many transit messages quickly to the brain, others relay the message more slowly.

Relationship between anxiety and mood disorders and the pain receptors

A 2017 survey done by the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health revealed that half of the adults with anxiety or mood disorders reportedly underwent chronic pain. In the study published online in the Journal of Affective Disorders, the researchers focused on the data from 5,037 respondents in Sao Paulo, Brazil. After interviewing each participant separately, the researchers pointed that chronic pain was most common ailment among individuals with any kind of mood disorder. While nearly 50 percent of the participants with mood disorders complained of chronic pain, anxiety disorders also significantly contributed to chronic pain disorder at 45 percent. It was found that individuals who had more than one chronic condition were more likely to be diagnosed with mood or anxiety disorders.

The existence of chronic physical condition coupled with mood and anxiety disorders can incapacitate an individual. Elaborating on the impact of this dual burden, Dr. Silvia Martins, associate professor of epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health said, “Chronic disease coupled with a psychiatric disorder is a pressing issue that health providers should consider when designing preventive interventions and treatment services — especially the heavy mental health burden experienced by those with two or more chronic disease.”

Seeking professional help

Anxiety can appear in many forms, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Therefore, it is important to be aware of the symptoms and warning signs to bring the situation under control. At the same time, it is essential to find the right cure at the right time.

Anxiety and depression are serious mental disorders that need immediate medical intervention. Ignoring their symptoms will only make matters worse. If you or your loved one is battling anxiety or any other mental disorder, contact the Anxiety Treatment Centers of California. We can help you find the best mental health treatment centers in California and suggest available treatment options for people facing mental health problems like anxiety. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-972-9459 or chat online for more information. One should not delay treatment or things can get out of hand.

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