Anxiety and Pain and PTSD

Anxiety and Pain  – Practical Pain Management – By David Cosio, PhD and Lotus M. Meshreki, PhD 

This turns out to be a lesson in BS detection: an old article citing decades-old research repurposed as though new.

The association between anxiety disorders and pain may be stronger than the association between depression and pain. Learn more about the most common anxiety disorders seen in pain patients, as well as new DSM-5 diagnostic criteria.

I checked the 62 references supplied at the end of the article and found that half are from the previous century:   

  • 11 from the 1980s,
  • 20 from the 1990s,
  • 17 from 2000’s, and only
  • 14 from 2010s.

I don’t understand why so many sources from so long ago would be used to examine this topic decades later.

Most prior pain research has evaluated the effects of anxiety disorders overall, including PTSD, on chronic pain and vice versa. Therefore, in this review, we present the research as such but include specific sections dedicated to the trauma and stress-related disorders. 

Diagnosis of Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety disorders cause distress in more than 30 million Americans in their lifetimes. 

This figure is from 1988, almost 30 years ago!

I’m sure there are more recent estimates generated by more modern methods. I wonder why such an old figure was used.

The direct and indirect costs of anxiety disorders are estimated to be about $42 billion per year in the United States. 

This number is from 1999: “The economic burden of anxiety disorders in the 1990s.”

There’s no way to tell how this cost translates into today’s dollar value – it must be far higher.

Anxiety disorders impair work, and social and physical functioning.

This is obvious to anyone who has suffered from anxiety, but the statement comes from a book written in 1985: Beck AT, Emery GE, Greenberg R. Anxiety Disorders and Phobias: A Cognitive Perspective

Earlier pain research listed the overall prevalence of comorbid anxiety disorders and pain as ranging between 16.5% and 28.8%.

These numbers are from 1998:
Fishbain DA, Cutler RB, Rosomoff HL, Rosomoff RS. Comorbid psychiatric disorders and chronic pain. Curr Rev Pain. 1998;

Newer studies suggest that anxiety disorders may be present in up to 60% of patients with chronic pain.

This “newer” study is from 14 years ago:
McWilliams LA, Cox BJ, Enns MW. Mood and anxiety disorders associated with chronic pain: an examination in a nationally representative sample. Pain. 2003;

I give up.

I had gone to the trouble to annotate all 3 pages of this article, but after checking the sources, I cannot in good conscience present it to you as current information. All the hard numbers presented are from so long ago that most can no longer be assumed valid.

I’m disappointed that such ancient history would be recently promoted (tweeted on 5/6/2017) in one of the most factual and unbiased publications on the topic of pain.

I’m angry that I wasted my precious energy on such ancient information presented as though new.

This just goes to show how careful one has to be when seeking information on the Internet. I only check for articles recently published/promoted in either scientific or factual publications, but subterfuge regarding the dates of information can still trip me up.

I’m posting this just to demonstrate how carefully we have to check the veracity of even the most respected publications.



2 thoughts on “Anxiety and Pain and PTSD

  1. Emily Raven

    Someone tell Beth Darnall. (Sorry but I won’t call that harpy a doctor.)) She’sing a survey that no matter how you answer (even if your pain causes the mental stuff) it can be twisted to mean emotions cause the pain to prove her “work.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Zyp Czyk Post author

      Yup, that’s what I noticed. If you want to decide someone is worrying “too much” or is “too distressed” about their pain, it’s easy to prove it. Apparently, we are catastrophizing if someone of authority decides we are.

      The fact that catastrophizing is even more difficult to “measure” than pain doesn’t seem to bother them a bit when they themselves are doing the subjective measuring, not the patient. Grrrr…



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