The Relationship and Importance of Pain and Depression in Assessment of the Elderly in Primary Care
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Chronic pain syndromes and depression are major medical problems. As the population of elders in the United States continues to increase in proportion to the general population, both depression and chronic pain are likely to become ever more problematic. People over 85 are the fastest growing segment of the population in the United States. It is estimated that by the year 2020 this population will include 7.5 million persons and by 2040 this population group will double to 14 million (U.S. Census Bureau, 2004). It is incumbent that providers understand the close relationship between depression and pain and exercise due diligence in making certain that both depression and pain have been accurately assessed so that the appropriate and adequate treatment can be prescribed. This paper explores the prevalence and relationship of depression and pain. The importance of assessing both in the primary care setting is described.