According to the US Pain Foundation, chronic pain affects 1 in 3 Americans, more than cancer, diabetes and heart disease combined. Chronic pain can interfere with sleep, make interacting with others difficult, and cause irritability and even hopelessness when relief is elusive. It’s no surprise that depression is a common issue facing those who suffer from chronic pain.

Depression can complicate a person’s pain condition and treatment. Both doctor and patient are typically more comfortable talking about physical symptoms than emotional ones. This can mean that specific pain symptoms monopolize doctor’s visits and other issues such as depression, sleep disturbances, appetite, and activity levels don’t get much attention. Be sure to make a written list of all of your symptoms and take it with you to every appointment. Your pain specialist can help get you connected with a psychologist who specializes in pain patients, providing a comprehensive approach to relieving your pain.