Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"Can chronic pain lead to depression?"

ZocdocAnswersCan chronic pain lead to depression?


I have chronic pain in my right leg, throughout the whole leg. I'm 24 and its been like this since I was 22. I'm starting to get worried about it because no one seems to know what it is. Could this end up giving me depression or mental problems?


First of all I am sorry to hear that you are having such chronic pain in your leg. If you haven't talked to your doctor about this problem, you definitely should, because it would be good to try to get to the bottom of the cause of the pain. If your doctors have already investigated the pain and haven't been able to uncover a cause, then it might be helpful to talk with a pain specialist to help you set up a plan for relieving some of the pain. There definitely is an association between chronic pain and depression. In part, this is because the chronic pain can serve as a source of stress that can negatively impact your mood. People with chronic pain also tend to be less socially engaged than others (it can be hard to leave the house, for example) and this can also further make them feel alone with their pain. If you are feeling this way, then I encourage you to talk to a psychiatrist or a psychologist. They can assess your mood and help you figure out whether you are depressed, and develop a plan of treatment.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.