It is no secret that chronic pain can lead to depression, but a recent study has identified a link between an increase in chronic pain and the depression suffered by an intimate partner. The investigators determined that people who have depressed partners have a higher risk of experiencing chronic pain, and they also discovered that both of these disorders have links to environmental and genetic factors. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh evaluated data and information from over 100.000 individuals who all took part in large health studies with a national approach. The research team performed analysis of the genetic background of the individuals, and they also looked at the pain and depression experiences that the participants reported. The data used for the study was sourced from the UK Biobank project and the Generation Scotland project.
The study researchers found that genetics are partly to blame for chronic pain, but other factors are still unknown. People who struggle with depression often have chronic pain but this is the first study which looked at a partner’s depression in relation to this disability. University of Edinburgh chair of biological psychiatry Professor Andrew McIntosh explained that “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. ”The study showed that there are unidentified factors which are jointly shared by partners, and scientists still do not understand why some people are affected by chronic pain and others are not.