Pain and psychiatry: A critical analysis and pharmacological review

Donatella Marazziti, Francesco Mungai, Laura Vivarelli, Silvio Presta, Bernardo Dell'Osso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pain is one of the most difficult medical problems to diagnose and treat and can be a common symptom of several psychiatric disorders. Pain-related issues are heterogeneous and often underestimated or misinterpreted, with the result that psychiatric interventions, which might have been beneficial from the outset, are often delayed or requested only as a last measure. Several problems arise from the definition, classification and assessment of pain, when documented according to the different scales which are commonly used, since these attempt to cover a multitude of analytical requirements, without really succeeding. An area of constant debate regards the connection between pain and various psychiatric disorders, and the difficulty in the classification of pain disorders within the currently existing framework. The pharmacological treatment of pain is complex and implies a variety of different compounds, from opioids to psychotropic medications like antidepressants and anticonvulsivants. This paper explores the mutual and reciprocal influence between pain and psychiatric disorders reviewing the latest developments in the definition, assessment and treatment of pain, with special emphasis on the impact of pain on psychiatric disorders (and vice versa), and on the use of psychotropic drugs in the treatment of pain syndromes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number31
JournalClinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health
Publication statusPublished - Nov 6 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Epidemiology


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