Original Research

A history of depression in patients attending a chronic pain management clinic in South Africa: A retrospective chart review

Joseph J. van Vreede, Romy Parker, Janieke van Nugteren
South African Journal of Psychiatry | Vol 28 | a1673 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajpsychiatry.v28i0.1673 | © 2022 Joseph J. van Vreede, Romy Parker, Janieke van Nugteren | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 January 2021 | Published: 29 April 2022

About the author(s)

Joseph J. van Vreede, Department of Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Romy Parker, Department of Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Janieke van Nugteren, Department of Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa


Share this article

Bookmark and Share

Abstract

Background: Chronic pain and depression are closely related conditions, which commonly exist as comorbid disorders. Understanding the prevalence of depression in patients presenting with chronic pain is vital for effective pain management.

Aim: Our study aimed to establish the prevalence of a history of depression in patients presenting with chronic pain to a chronic pain management clinic at a tertiary academic hospital and to describe the characteristics of patients with both conditions.

Setting: Groote Schuur Hospital, Chronic Pain Management Clinic, Cape Town, South Africa.

Method: A retrospective review of 665 medical charts of consecutive patients accessing the clinic over a 7-year period was conducted. Baseline, patient-centred data were collected.

Results: Of the 665 charts, 623 were analysed. The median age of patients was 53 years. The prevalence of depression in patients presenting with chronic pain was 32%, three times higher than the national life-time prevalence in South Africa. The majority (77%) of patients with chronic pain and depression were female (p < 0.01). Overall, 51% of the patients assessed were unemployed with low levels of education. The majority of our study patients had received a tricyclic antidepressant at some time prior to presentation.

Conclusion: The high prevalence of a history of depression in patients presenting with chronic pain in our study, emphasises the importance of looking for and understanding the interrelation of the physiological, psychiatric, psychological and socio-economic factors that are common to both depression and chronic pain. Pain relief alone is insufficient to ensure optimal rehabilitation of these patients and integrating the management of their depression should improve patient outcomes and overall well-being.


Keywords

depression; chronic pain; comorbid; pain clinic; pain management

Metrics

Total abstract views: 1142
Total article views: 527


Crossref Citations

No related citations found.