A Narrative Review of the Assessment of Depression in Chronic Pain.

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This narrative review sought to explore the main critical issues in the assessment of depression in chronic pain and to identify self-report tools that can be reliably used for measuring it.Narrative review of the literature.Articles were obtained through a search of three databases and a hand search of the references of full-text papers. Key results within the retrieved articles were summarized and integrated to address the review objectives.Criterion contamination, different ways to define and evaluate pain and depression across studies, variability in chronic pain samples and settings, pitfalls of diagnostic systems and self-reports, and reluctance to address (or difficulty of recognizing) depression in patients and healthcare providers emerged as main critical issues. The Beck Depression Inventory seems to be the more accurate tool to evaluate depression in chronic pain patients, while other instruments such as the Patient Health Questionnaire could be recommended for a rapid screening.Assessment of depression comorbidity in chronic pain represents a challenge in both research and clinical practice; the choice and use of tests, as well as the score interpretation, require clinical reasoning.Nurses play an important role in screening for depression. Cognitive contents of depression should be carefully evaluated since somatic symptoms may be confusing in the chronic pain context. Some self-reports may be useful for rapid screening. It is also advisable to consider other relevant patient information in evaluating depression.

View the full article @ Pain management nursing : official journal of the American Society of Pain Management Nurses
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Authors: Michael Tenti, William Raffaeli, Paola Gremigni