New study links chronic pain and mental health symptoms

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A new study found nearly 1 in 20 adults in the U.S. experience the co-occurrence of chronic pain and anxiety or depression, resulting in functional limitations in daily life.

Prior research has shown chronic pain, along with symptoms of anxiety or depression, are biologically linked. This study is one of the few to examine the national prevalence of chronic pain with anxiety or depression symptoms in adults.

The results shed light on the fact millions of people may be experiencing symptoms that can limit their ability to work, complete daily tasks and socialize.

Jennifer S. De La Rosa, Ph.D., the Director of Strategy for the University of Arizona Health Sciences Comprehensive Pain and Addiction Center and lead author of the study, joined Arizona Horizon to discuss the study and its significance.

“Our goal with this study was to examine the nature and scale of this problem in the general U.S. adult population because not everybody is a patient,” De La Rosa said.

Currently, De La Rosa does not see a focus on chronic pain in the mental health conversation.

“In many cases, we cannot remit all of the symptoms. We can give you skills to be resilient and to cope to continue living your life,” De La Rosa said.

Jennifer S. De La Rosa, Ph.D., Director of Strategy for University of Arizona Health Sciences Comprehensive Pain and Addiction Center

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