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Targeting Women’s Depression to Reduce Disability from Chronic Conditions

Women with higher levels of depression when suffering with long-term pain report greater disability than men in the same situation, according to new research published in the latest edition of the European Journal of Pain.

This suggests that by targeting their depression, doctors could help reduce disability in female patients with chronic conditions such as arthritis and back pain.

The study, which involved 260 chronic pain patients from Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases (RNHRD), builds on growing evidence that “psychosocial” factors can have an effect on a person’s health and behavior.

“It is now accepted that pain is more than just a sensory experience, and that factors like a person’s gender, their emotional condition or their interactions with others, can contribute to their pain experiences,” said Dr. Ed Keogh from the Pain Management Unit at the University of Bath and RNHRD.

“This research shows that pain-related emotions are associated with pain-related behaviour, such as the number of visits to the GP, the number of medications taken, the amount of sleep lost, and disability, but it also highlights a significant discrepancy between the behaviours of men and women.

“For women in particular, targeting depression may help reduce disability associated with chronic pain.”

Women are already known to report higher levels of depression than men, and are generally found to report greater levels of pain, with greater frequency and greater intensity when compared to men.

Evidence is emerging that suggests men and women also respond differently to the drugs and other treatments, such as psychology-based interventions, used to treat pain.

“We found that within men with chronic pain, higher levels of depression were related to a greater of number of medications being used than women,” said Dr. Keogh.

“Why this should be is not clear, but the social gender roles we adopt throughout our lives may have some important part to play.

“Alongside drugs, other therapies that focus on the behaviours and tendencies associated with depression, such as avoidance and withdrawal, may also be effective in these situations for some people.”

Source: University of Bath

Targeting Women’s Depression to Reduce Disability from Chronic Conditions

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Targeting Women’s Depression to Reduce Disability from Chronic Conditions. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2006/06/19/targeting-womens-depression-to-reduce-disability-from-chronic-conditions/26.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.