Department of Psychiatry

Psychiatric assessment of a chronic pain patient

Detailed history-taking and psychiatric examination are part of the careful evaluation of pain, regardless of its cause, which serves as the foundation for treatment. The aim of the patient’s psychiatric evaluation is to identify and treat mental health conditions like depression, anxiety disorders, and sleep disorders that frequently accompany chronic pain. A psychiatrist can also identify the components that promote continuation of chronic pain and suggest the best course of treatment, which may include either pharmacological or non-pharmacological treatments or a combination of both. For instance, several drug classes, such as tricyclic antidepressants and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, are beneficial in treating both chronic pain and the aforementioned psychiatric disorders. When non-pharmacological treatments like therapy, relaxation techniques, acupuncture, and therapeutic approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy are used in combination with medication, the effectiveness of the treatment regimen is increased.