Psychological Pain, Depression, and Suicide: Recent Evidences and Future Directions

  • Ismael Conejero
  • Emilie Olié
  • Raffaella Calati
  • Déborah Ducasse
  • Philippe Courtet
Mood Disorders (E Baca-Garcia, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Mood Disorders


Purpose of Review

The definition of psychological pain is complex. It is a lasting unpleasant and unsustainable feeling characterized by a perception of inability or deficiency of the self, as well as frustrated psychological needs and social disconnection. The aim of our review was to summarize the most recent and updated findings supporting the role of psychological pain in the pathophysiology of depression and suicidal behavior. We also explored the relationship between psychological and physical pain in depression and suicide.

Recent Findings

Psychological pain is a prominent dimension of depressive disorder and has been associated with higher risk of suicidal ideation and suicidal behavior. Sensitivity to psychological and physical pain is increased in depression. Conversely, higher tolerance to physical pain is associated with suicidal behavior.


A better understanding of the pathophysiology of pain processing in depression and suicide offers new therapeutic options for the treatment of depression through the use of analgesic drugs.


Psychological pain Physical pain Depression Mood disorders Suicidal ideation Suicidal behavior 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Ismael Conejero, Emilie Olié, Déborah Ducasse, and Philippe Courtet declare no conflict of interest.

Raffaella Calati has received a grant from the FondaMental Foundation, Créteil, France (2015–2016).

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ismael Conejero
    • 1
  • Emilie Olié
    • 2
  • Raffaella Calati
    • 2
  • Déborah Ducasse
    • 2
  • Philippe Courtet
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, CHU NimesUniversité MontpellierNimesFrance
  2. 2.Department of Emergency Psychiatry and Acute Care, CHU MontpellierUniversité MontpellierMontpellierFrance

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