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The Link Between Chronic Pain and Depression: What to Know

By Carol Caffin
Reviewed by Susan Ko, Ph.D.
May 19, 2022

Dealing with chronic pain can take a toll on mental health. Studies suggest that symptoms of depression may occur in 50% to 75% of people with chronic pain—which is significantly higher than the estimated 18.5% of adults in the general population with symptoms of depression.

The good news is that treating one condition can often lead to improvements in the other.

The Relationship Between Pain and Depression

Although studies have examined the relationship between chronic pain and depression, it’s still unclear whether or how one causes the other.