Major Depressive Disorder and Pain Symptoms

Major Depressive Disorder and Pain SymptomsThere is a distinct-link between major depressive disorder and pain symptoms. Depression can trigger symptoms of physical pain and conversely, physical pain (especially chronic pain) can lead the development of depression. When major depressive disorder and pain co-exist, the two issues can create a ruthless cycle where the symptoms of each issue exacerbate the other, making the symptoms of both issues more difficult to treat.

These two issues regularly co-occur because of biological defects that cause nerve endings and neurotransmitters in the brain to not function properly. Common co-occurring symptoms of pain and depression include the following:

  • Pain in the joints and limbs
  • Back pain
  • Recurring headaches and migraines
  • Fatigue and physical exhaustion
  • Body aches and soreness
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Psychomotor activity changes

Physical pain symptoms are most commonly experienced with major depressive disorder and it is common for pain symptoms to develop into chronic or long-term pain.

Relationship between Major Depressive Disorder and Pain

While these symptoms of pain may be caused by the effects of depression on the body’s ability to feel good and manage pain, physical pain symptoms can also lead to the development of depression or other mood disorders. It is common for individuals with chronic pain, illness or injury to later notice symptoms of depression. While an illness can interfere with chemical levels in the brain that affect depression and other mental health disorders, the stress and challenges of living with an illness, injury or disability can also affect an individual’s mood.

Chronic pain and illness can limit a person’s social activity, lower self-esteem, interfere with sleep and healthy living, decrease pleasurable activities, and increase stress and difficulty in simple everyday tasks and work. These challenges can contribute to feelings like sadness, helplessness, fatigue, despair and other symptoms of depression.

Neurotransmitters, serotonin and norepinephrine, have an influence on mood and the sensation of pain. Therefore, if dysfunction among these neurotransmitters causes depression, it can just as easily influence the sensation of pain as well as pain sensitivity. Furthermore, antidepressants and other medications used to treat depression can influence these chemical levels and have an affect of pain sensitivity. Comparably, medications used to treat pain symptoms can alter brain chemicals and neurotransmitters that can cause depression and other mood disorders.

Effective Depression and Pain Treatment

The connections between major depressive disorder and pain symptoms are assorted, which makes finding a treatment for both disorders complex. With co-morbid conditions that can cyclically perpetuate one-another, it is best to used integrated or dual diagnosis treatment to address both conditions at the same time. Some people are unresponsive or adversely affected by medications, which is why most integrated treatment programs use a variety of different treatment methods. These integrated methods can include medications, psychotherapy, holistic or alternative treatments, physical therapy, vagus nerve stimulation, electroconvulsive therapy, psychodynamic therapy, interpersonal therapy and more.

Finding Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Pain, Depression and Addiction

If you or someone you care about is suffering from co-occurring pain, depression and drug abuse or addiction, we can help you find diagnosis and treatment help. Our recovery professionals are available 24 hours a day to assist you with your search for finding dual diagnosis treatment and recovery services. Whether you have questions, concerns, or need information, we are happy to help. If you’re ready, we have connections to the best treatment and recovery centers across the nation. We can help you find individualized treatment, with programs and services that will work for you and your unique recovery needs. To learn more about dual diagnosis and treatment, call our toll-free number and speak with a recovery professional today.