Does Chronic Pain Cause Depression, And Can Depression Worsen Chronic Pain?

Question: Does chronic pain cause depression, and can depression worsen chronic pain?

Answer: Chronic pain is a very common cause for depression. When a person is in pain, day in and day out, it interferes with their ability to focus or concentrate on anything else in their life. Their mind is riveted is on the pain. And that's what pain does -- it attracts your attention so you'll do something about it.

But the problem with people who have chronic pain is that they can't do anything about it. And they're literally trapped in this continual state of discomfort. And this is a very common cause for depression. And in fact, chronic pain and depression kind of interact with each other so that people who have depression seem to experience pain more easily. They experience it more intensely.

And so the chronic pain seems to be made worse when a person is experiencing depression. And it actually can set into motion a vicious cycle, where a person who is experiencing chronic pain, gets depressed over the chronic pain, then perceives the pain more intensely, which makes them more depressed, interferes with their sleep, etc., until it's really a vicious cycle until a person is really driven almost to the point when they're so depressed that they don't want to continue to live that way.

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