Depression - A serious consequence of chronic pain

                 November 1-7 is National Pain Awareness Week
<p><location>MONTREAL</location>, <chron>Nov. 2</chron> /CNW Telbec/ - More than 1.5 million people in <location>Quebec</location> suffer from chronic pain, which puts major social, psychological and family pressures on those suffering and their loved ones(1). Clinical depression is in fact a serious consequence of chronic pain, which has an enormous human cost. The <location>Quebec</location> Association for Chronic Pain therefore wants to underline the importance of preventing chronic pain and assessing for depression during National Pain Awareness Week from <chron>November 1</chron> to <chron>November 7</chron>.</p>
<p>Action must be taken to avoid depression in people with chronic pain</p>
<p>"There is clearly a critical need to assess depression in patients with chronic pain", said <person>Dr. Aline Boulanger</person>, President of the <location>Quebec</location> Association for Chronic Pain and Director of the pain clinics at the Hôtel-Dieu (CHUM) and Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur in <location>Montreal</location>. "But the prevention of chronic pain must also become a priority in our society, given that current pain management programs are inadequate to meet the needs of those now suffering from pain."</p>
<p>In a recent study published in the Journal of Pain, approximately 35 per cent of those with chronic pain said they suffer from depression.(2) In fact, one of the most common reasons that people buy books on suicide and physician-assisted suicide is the fear of living in severe intractable pain.(3)</p>
<p>Unbearable pain can cause people to consider the unthinkable</p>
<p>There are many diseases that cause chronic pain, but shingles is singled out as the number one cause of debilitating pain in the elderly and is the leading cause of suicide in chronic pain patients over the age of 70 years.(4) For more than 50 per cent of shingles sufferers over 60, shingles can progress into debilitating, chronic pain.(5) The incidence and severity of shingles and its complications increase with age(6), with more than two out of three shingles cases occurring in people over 50.(7)</p>
<p>"Shingles has been one of the most trying experiences of my life. For over 13 years, I have lived with the painful aftermath of this awful disease," said Henri Paré from Prévost, <location>Quebec</location>. "When I first contracted the disease, it felt like I had a large open wound on my side and that my clothes were touching my raw flesh. I was in bed for an entire month with the terrible pain. The anti-depressants I took made things worse not better. I can honestly say that at the time I was truly on the brink."</p>
<p>Between 18 and 29 per cent of adult Canadians suffer from chronic pain(8) and a 70 per cent increase in the incidence of chronic pain is expected for the next 25 years due to the aging of our population.(9) The annual cost of chronic pain, including medical expenses, lost income, and lost productivity, but not the social costs, is estimated to exceed <money>$10 billion</money> in <location>Canada</location>.(10)</p>
<p>On the individual level, chronic pain makes it difficult to concentrate, to remember things, to perform routine tasks, to think about anything except the pain.(11) People suffering from severe chronic pain miss 16 days of work a year due to their chronic pain.(12) Lost wages and medical costs due to chronic pain are often financially devastating for the individuals and their families.(13)</p>
    About the Quebec Association for Chronic Pain (AQDC - Association
    québécoise de la douleur chronique)
<p>Founded in 2004, the <location>Quebec</location> Association for Chronic Pain counts close to 3,700 members. Its main mission is to improve the condition of those suffering from chronic pain in <location>Quebec</location> and curb isolation. The AQDC works closely with the Québec Pain Research Network, the pain clinics, the ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux and other partners and stakeholders, toward the creation of multidisciplinary clinics, as well as education and prevention programs pertaining to chronic pain. For more information, visit: <a href=""></a>.</p>
    (1) Web site of the Association québécoise de la douleur chronique.
    (Accessed at:
    (2) Wayne State University Web site. (Accessed at:
    (3) Chronic Pain Association of Canada Web site. (Accessed at:
    (4) Norman RA. Geriatric Dermatology. The Parthenon Publishing Group.
    2001. Page 56. (Web site accessed at:
    (5) Oxman MN. Clinical manifestations of herpes zoster. In: Arvin AM,
    Gershon AA, editors. Varicella-zoster virus virology and clinical
    management. Cambridge Press 2000:246-75.
    (6) Gnann JW Jr. et al. Herpes zoster. N Engl J Med 2002;347:340-6.
    (7) Straus SE, Oxman MN. Varicella and herpes zoster. In: Freedberg IM,
    Eisen AZ, Wolff K et al, editors. Fitzpatrick's dermatology in general
    medicine. 5th ed. Vol 2. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill 1999;2427-50.
    (8) Web site of the Association québécoise de la douleur chronique.
    (Accessed at:
    (9) Web site of the Association québécoise de la douleur chronique.
    (Accessed at:
    (10) Chronic Pain Association of Canada Web site. (Accessed at:
    (11) Chronic Pain Association of Canada Web site. (Accessed at:
    (12) Web site of the Association québécoise de la douleur chronique.
    (Accessed at:
    (13) Chronic Pain Association of Canada Web site. (Accessed at:

For further information: For further information: Robert Lupien, (514) 845-2257,

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