Published online by Cambridge University Press: 20 May 2022
This chapter will provide a brief overview of chronic pain conditions associated with different psychiatric disorders and treated with psychotropic drugs. Included here are discussions of the symptomatic and pathophysiological overlap between disorders with pain and many other disorders treated in psychopharmacology, especially depression and anxiety. Clinical descriptions and formal criteria for how to diagnose painful conditions are only mentioned here in passing. The reader should consult standard reference sources for this material. The discussion here will emphasize how discoveries about the functioning of various brain circuits and neurotransmitters – especially those acting upon the central processing of pain – have impacted our understanding of the pathophysiology and treatment of many painful conditions that may occur with or without various psychiatric disorders. The goal of this chapter is to acquaint the reader with ideas about the clinical and biological aspects of the symptom of pain, how it can hypothetically be caused by alterations of pain processing within the central nervous system, how it can be associated with many of the symptoms of depression and anxiety, and finally, how it can be treated with several of the same agents that can treat depression and anxiety. The discussion in this chapter is at the conceptual level, and not at the pragmatic level. The reader should consult standard drug handbooks (such as Stahl’s Essential Psychopharmacology: the Prescriber’s Guide) for details of doses, side effects, drug interactions, and other issues relevant to the prescribing of these drugs in clinical practice.