Pain Disorder



Pain that causes stress and prevents social, occupational, and other important areas of functioning is the chief characteristic of Pain Disorder. Affected individuals experience an inability to participate in the ordinary activities of daily life, such as attending school and work. The pain becomes the major focus of one’s life, leading, in most cases, to problems with familial and social relationships.


The three subtypes of Pain Disorder are 1) Pain Disorder associated with psychological factors, 2) Pain Disorder associated with a general medical condition, and 3) Pain Disorder associated with both psychological factors and a general medical condition.


In the first subtype, pain disorder associated with psychological factors, general medical conditions play either no role or a minimal role in the onset or maintenance of pain. Psychological factors are judged to be the major aspect in the onset, severity, exacerbation, and/or maintenance of the pain. Pain results from a general medical condition in the second type of pain disorder, and psychological factors are determined to play either no part or a minimal part in the onset or maintenance of the pain. Pain in the third type of disorder is associated with both psychological factors and a general medical condition. As one might assume, psychological factors as well as a general medical condition are concluded to exert important influence on the onset, severity, exacerbation, and/or maintenance of the pain.




  • Pain in one or more locations of the body is the predominate focus of the clinical presentation and is of sufficient severity to warrant clinical attention.
  • The pain causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
  • Psychological factors are considered to be key components in the onset, severity, exacerbation, or maintenance of the pain.
  • The symptom of pain is not intentionally produced or feigned.
  • The pain is not better accounted for by a mood, anxiety, or psychotic disorder and does not meet criteria for Dyspareunia. 




Adults that suffer from pain may experience drug or substance dependency or abuse. Pain may lead to avoidance of social activity and interactions. It is also often associated with mood and anxiety disorders. Individuals with chronic pain (lasting more than 6 months) have been known to experience depressive and anxiety disorders. However, individuals experiencing acute pain (pain lasting less than 6 months) have more often been associated with anxiety disorders. Both forms of pain may lead to the interference of normal sleep patterns. Pain disorder can also be associated with some general medical conditions such as disc herniation, osteoporosis, diabetic neuropathies, and metastatic lesions in bones.

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