Chronic pain and pain-related disability across psychiatric disorders in a clinical adolescent sample
1 Regional Centre for Child and Youth Mental Health and Child Welfare, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Medical Technical Research Centre, Postbox 8905, N-7491 Trondheim, Norway
2 Department of Neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
3 Department of Research and Development, Levanger Hospital, Nord-Trøndelag Health Trust, Levanger, Norway
4 Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, St. Olav’s University Hospital, Trondheim, Norway
BMC Psychiatry 2013, 13:272 doi:10.1186/1471-244X-13-272Published: 21 October 2013
People who suffer from psychiatric disorders are burdened with a high prevalence of chronic illnesses and pain, but evidence on pain prevalence among adolescents with psychiatric disorders is scarce. The aim of this study was to investigate the frequency and location of self-reported chronic pain and pain-related disability in adolescent psychiatric patients.
This study was part of the larger Health Survey administered at the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (CAP) at St. Olav’s University Hospital, in Trondheim, Norway. All patients aged 13–18 years who visited the CAP clinic at least once between February 15, 2009 and February 15, 2011 were invited to participate. A total of 717 (43.5% of eligible/invited patients) participated; of these, 566 were diagnosed with one or more psychiatric disorders. The adolescents completed a questionnaire, which included questions about pain and pain-related disability. Clinical diagnoses were classified by a clinician according to International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th revision criteria.
In adolescents with psychiatric disorders, 70.4% reported chronic pain, and 37.3% experienced chronic pain in three or more locations (multisite pain). Chronic musculoskeletal pain was the most prevalent type of pain (57.7%). Pain-related disability was found in 22.2% of the sample. The frequency of chronic pain and multisite pain increased with age, and girls reported a higher frequency of chronic pain, multisite pain and pain-related disability than boys did. There was an increased risk of chronic pain among adolescents with mood or anxiety disorders versus those with hyperkinetic disorders, yet this was not present after adjusting for sex. Comorbidity between hyperkinetic and mood or anxiety disorders involved an increased risk of pain-related disability.
In this study, seven out of 10 adolescents with psychiatric disorders reported chronic pain. These findings indicate the importance of early detection of chronic pain in adolescents with psychiatric disorders, to provide targeted treatment and reduce poor long-term outcomes.