Do we feel pain more when we are depressed?

Learn how I beat Depression

We already know that there is a link between depression and pain but is it all in our head or all in our body, in other words is pain an emotional condition or a physical sensation?

People who suffer from a chronic pain condition are often suffering from depression and yet their depression can go undiagnosed and untreated.

Anyone who has ever experienced pain and that means all of us will know how pain can make us irritated, agitated and moody. If we experience long term pain then this obviously going to have an affect on our emotions and our state of mind.

People who suffer from depression do have an increased risk of experiencing a chronic pain condition and chronic pain also impacts negatively on our mood and can make us feel depressed but so far, the actual mechanisms underlying the link between pain and depression are not that well understood.

Now, interesting research by the University of Oxford has revealed that depression could be linked to an increased perception of physical discomfort and pain.

Dr Chantal Berna and colleagues used brain imaging scans to see how the brain reacted when people were feeling low.

Their findings revealed that inducing depressed mood disrupted a portion of the participants’ neurocircuitry that regulates emotion, causing an enhanced perception of pain.

In other words, explained Dr. Berna, “when the healthy people were made sad by negative thoughts and depressing music, we found that their brains processed pain more emotionally, which led to them finding the pain more unpleasant.”

The researchers reckon that when we are feeling down we lose the ability to regulate the negative emotion that comes with feeling pain so that the pain has a greater impact.

“Our research suggests depressed mood leads to maladaptive changes in brain function associated with pain, and that depressed mood itself could be a target for treatment by medicines or psychotherapy in this context,” commented Berna.

The next stage in this area of study say the researchers, would be to look at this mechanism in individuals who suffer from chronic pain as they also often experience depression too.

A greater understanding of the link between depression and pain could lead to more effective treatments.

Learn how I beat Depression

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