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J Psychiatr Res. 1994 Mar-Apr;28(2):109-22.

Pain perception in psychiatric disorders: a review of the literature.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Munich, Germany.


Aberrations of pain experience occur frequently in psychiatric disorders and hence pathological alterations in the basic mechanisms underlying pain experience can be expected. Nevertheless, pain perception, as one of the most important basic mechanisms of pain experience, has rarely been assessed experimentally in psychiatric disorders. The authors review the relevant experimental studies on pain perception in patients with anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, depression, eating disorders and personality disorders and suggest lines for future research. Finally, they point out that the experimental study of pain perception is useful not only in understanding aberrant pain experiences in psychiatric disorders but also in elucidating pathophysiological mechanisms because pain perception is controlled by neurochemical and neurohormonal functions known to be affected by psychiatric disease processes.

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