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Study Finds Links Between Chronic Pain, Depression in Couples

Findings could lead to better diagnostic tests and treatments, researchers say

couple hugging

TUESDAY, Aug. 16, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- If your significant other is depressed, you are at increased risk for chronic pain, a new study suggests.

Researchers analyzed data from more than 100,000 people in the U.K. They found that chronic pain is caused partly by genetics and partly by still-unknown risk factors shared by partners or spouses.

They also found that chronic pain and depression share common causes. Some are genetic and some stem from the environment the people share.

Researchers said chronic pain is poorly understood. The findings offer new insight and could help lead to improved diagnostic tests and treatments, they added.

"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," study author Andrew McIntosh said in a University of Edinburgh news release.

McIntosh is chairman of biological psychiatry at the university and associate director of the Scottish Mental Health Research Network.

The study was published Aug. 16 in the journal PLoS Medicine.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more on chronic pain.

SOURCE: University of Edinburgh, news release, Aug. 16, 2016
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