Do depression increase physical pain? Italian scientists have found the first evidence of this.
(21.06.2010) Depression can increase the pain sensation of those affected. Neurologists have found that depression not only changes the processing of pain impulses, but may also intensify the sensation of pain.
In the Italian study, new indications were found that depression not only changes the processing of pain impulses, but also makes pain sufferers more intensely. According to the scientists, the reason is that neurotransmitters, which are responsible for emotions in the brain, are also used in part for the physical sensation of pain. If these impulses are disturbed, the physical sensation of pain may intensify.
In the study, the researchers compared pain waves and pain tolerances from 25 subjects whose depressive illness had previously remained untreated. The data were then compared to a control group of healthy volunteers. During the course of the study, the participants in the study were given minimal electric shocks to their hands and feet. The group with the untreated depression showed a feeling of pain significantly earlier and felt the current impulses much more unpleasant than the control group of the healthy test subjects.
The results of the study were presented by Prof. Michele Tinazzi at the 20th annual conference of the European Neurological Society in Berlin. If the theory is correct that regions in the brain are partially used for pain and emotions at the same time, so-called serotonin-norepinephrine drugs could combat both in the future, according to Tinazzi. However, further studies would have to follow, which examined these observations in detail. (sb)