Adolescents who have affective, anxiety, and behavioral disorders may be at increased risk for developing chronic pain, a new study published in The Journal of Pain has found. 

Earlier studies in adults had demonstrated higher rates of psychopathology in those with pain conditions, including depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, substance abuse, and personality disorders. Up till now not much has been established on the association between mental disorder and chronic pain in adolescents.

RELATED: Vit D3, Placebo Both Improve Chronic Low Back Pain

A team of European researchers analyzed data from 6,500 study patients through the National Comorbidity Survey Replication Adoelscent Supplement. They evaluated lifetime chronic pain through self-reports and evaluated mental disorders via the WHO Composite International Diagnostic Interview and parent reports. The study’s objective was to estimate the prevalence of co-occurrence of lifetime chronic pain and mental disorders, the association between these two states, and their temporal sequence.

Study data showed that one-fourth of adolescents reported having chronic or a mental disorder in their lifetime. Overall, all types of pain were linked to mental disorders but the most significant associations were seen in cases where mental disorders preceded the onset of chronic pain. Specifically, the affective, anxiety, and behavior disorders were early risk factors for the onset of chronic pain. 

The findings demonstrate that the relationship between mental health and chronic pain starts in childhood and adolescence, leading to increased comorbidity in adult years. 

For more information visit