Depression and chronic pain

PDF download is not available for Arabic and Urdu languages at this time. Please use the browser print function instead

​​
sad teen girl

Depression involves feelings of despair and hopelessness; it lasts longer than feelings of sadness that people feel every now and then. It can affect a person’s thoughts, feelings, behaviour and overall health. Moderate to severe clinical depression is more common in females than in males, but it can affect anyone. Roughly 10 percent of people deal with anxiety or depression at any given time. About 20 percent of people will deal with anxiety or depression at some point in their lives.

The experience of chronic pain can cause some people to feel sad, demoralized and overwhelmed. Many feel that persistent pain has taken them away from their schooling, work, activities and relationships, which are very important in their lives.

It is understandable to feel overwhelmed or sad when we no longer feel we are living meaningful lives because of pain. Depression can distort (misrepresent) how we think about our current and our future lives, leading us to think maladaptive (unhelpful) thoughts, and causing us to feel powerless.

Signs and symptoms of depression

  • Lack of interest in usual daily activities, such as socializing with friends
  • Feelings of sadness or feeling “down” or “blue” for at least two weeks
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Crying spells for no apparent reason
  • Problems sleeping
  • Trouble focusing or concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Unintentional weight gain or loss
  • Irritability or restlessness
  • Fatigued or weak
  • Worthlessness or guilt
  • Suicidal thoughts
Last updated: May 2nd 2016