Painful diabetic neuropathy is more than pain alone: Examining the role of anxiety and depression as mediators and complicators

Rakesh Jain, Shailesh Jain, Charles L. Raison, Vladimir Maletic

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


A wealth of information exists regarding the plight of patients suffering with diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain (DPNP). Although physical pain is certainly a primary challenge in the management of this condition, disorders associated with emotional pain-especially depression and anxiety-also greatly complicate the clinician's efforts to attain optimal outcomes for DPNP patients. This article reviews the high rate of comorbidity between DPNP and depression/anxiety with a focus on why this pattern of comorbidity exists and what can be done about it. To accomplish this, the many physiologic similarities between neuropathic pain and depression/anxiety are reviewed as a basis for better understanding how, and why, optimal treatment strategies use behavioral and pharmacologic modalities known to improve both physical pain and symptoms of depression and anxiety. We conclude by highlighting that screening, diagnosing, and optimally treating comorbid depression/anxiety not only improves quality of life, these but also positively impacts DPNP pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-284
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent diabetes reports
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Anxiety
  • Central sensitization
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain (DPNP)
  • Duloxetine
  • Inflammation
  • Kindling
  • Major depression
  • Peripheral nerves
  • Pregabalin
  • Prevalence
  • Psychotherapy, Cognitive behavior l therapy
  • Screening instruments
  • Serotonin reuptake inhibitors
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • α-2-δ ligands

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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