Link to chronic pain in partners of people with depression
August 2016: The study identified significant overlaps between the risk factors for chronic pain and depression.
Researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Glasgow have found that partners of people with depression are more likely to suffer from chronic pain.
Led by University of Edinburgh, the study published in the journal PLOS Medicine, identified significant overlaps between the risk factors for chronic pain and depression. The study shows that the two conditions share common causes - some of which are genetic whilst others are environmental. These as yet unidentified environmental risk factors are shared jointly by partners or spouses.
Chronic pain is a common cause of disability but little is known about what causes it. Scientists say the research will bring a new understanding of why some people suffer from the condition and not others.
Professor Andrew McIntosh, Chair of Biological Psychiatry and member of CGEM’s Psychiatric Genetics group, said: “We hope our research will encourage people to think about the relationship between chronic pain and depression and whether physical and mental illnesses are as separate as some believe.”
Experts say their findings shed new light on the illnesses and could one day help to develop better diagnostic tests and treatments.
Full journal article: McIntosh et al., PLOS Medicine
Full University of Edinburgh news item