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Depression anxiety and pain treatment options

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Pain will come and go for most people, but it can be more intense if you suffer depression and/or anxiety. Treating these problems can be difficult but experts provide some tips.

Diagnosing someone who has pain, depression and anxiety is an entirely complicated process on its own. Treating is even more complicated because symptoms can mask each other, so what can you do?

"You’re not alone; find a therapist who will work with you."

Experts from Harvard Medical School discuss treatment options from psychotherapies to exercise that might help relieve feelings of anxiety, depression and pain.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on teaching patients who suffer from anxiety, depression and pain coping skills. These coping skills will help these suffers manage their pain rather than become a victim to their pain. CBT is based on the belief that thoughts, emotions and sensations are all connected.

Relaxation training is more centered on teaching techniques like muscle relaxation, yoga and mindfulness training to help reduce stress. Often times, stress makes pain and depression worsen so by minimizing stress the other symptoms may also be relieved.

One study found that hypnosis helped 71 percent of the participants with gastrointestinal distress, depression and anxiety. Hypnosis is a mental state where a person is in a trance and in this state a clinician suggests positive thoughts. Some people have even learned self-hypnosis.

Exercise has even been found to benefit patients with severe pain. The Cochrane Collaboration analyzed 34 studies comparing exercise interventions on fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition where the entire body is in intense pain.

They found that aerobic activity at intensity that is recommended for heart maintenance, respiratory fitness, and improved well being was able to reduced pain. Some evidence even says weight lifting can help improve pain.

Jim Crowell, a fitness expert, says "I have seen patients come into the gym with a great number of injuries and pain and through a targeted program of exercise i have seen pain lessen greatly. Of course not everybody's pain goes away, but I'm a big believer in overall fitness and nutrition playing a very positive role in most people's overall health."

However, if that doesn’t work, these treatment options can be combined with antidepressants or mood stabilizers that might be able to give you complete relief. Be sure to speak with a health professional because some drugs can interfere with other drugs.

If you plan on trying “off label/brand” medications that are not FDA approved be sure to do research because some pharmaceutical companies will promote drugs with only a financial interest in mind.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
October 5, 2011
Last Updated:
October 8, 2011