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How chronic pain from arthritis affects mental health

The Arizona Department of Health Services website features quarterly initiatives that address a physical health issue in combination with a mental health issue. One of the topics they address at www.azdhs.gov/bhs centers around arthritis-chronic pain and how it can be connected to and impacted by one's mental health.

Chronic pain and depression commonly go hand in hand; it can be difficult to separate the two into distinct illnesses.

• Being in pain increases anxiety, which adds to feelings of depression and hopelessness.

• Arthritis, often accompanied by chronic pain, is the nation's most common cause of disability; nearly 21 million U.S. adults report activity limitations because of arthritis each year.

• Arthritis comprises more than 100 different rheumatic diseases and conditions, the most common of which is osteoarthritis. Other forms of arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia and gout.

Almost everyone and any age group can be affected by arthritis and chronic pain; however, it is more common among adults age 65 or older. Also, it is more common among women than men in every age group, and it affects members of all racial and ethnic groups.

Ask your behavioral health/medical provider:

• Is my chronic pain related to a weight condition?

• Do I need an X-ray, MRI or CT scan to find out what is causing my pain?

• Is my arthritis chronic?

• Are there things I can do to manage my pain?

• Can I take anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce the pain, swelling and stiffness in my joints?

• Should I be on prednisone or acetaminophen?

Consulting with a medical professional is important so you can learn about techniques that may help you manage your pain.

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