Connection Between Chronic Pain and Suicide

How to Address the Connection Between Chronic Pain and Suicide | The Mighty By Tiffany Greer May 28, 2017

I recently had a doc say to me,Fibromyalgia won’t kill you.”

I shot back, “Yeah, I know. The other half of that statement is, “But it will make you wish you were dead.’”

Let’s just say that particular doctor’s visit didn’t go well.

The reality is that there are many chronic pain conditions and illnesses that in themselves, are not deadly. 

That part is true. But the damage that these conditions cause to our lives, livelihoods, bodies, relationships, and even our daily interactions can and do place individuals with chronic pain and chronic illness at a higher risk for suicidality.

A recent article published by the American Chronic Pain Association reports that a recent survey they conducted showed that 47 percent of the respondents (chronic pain patients) have contemplated suicide.

Given that an estimated 100 million Americans are living with chronic pain (according to the National Institute of Health), one would think that there would be more attention given to what is such a high risk group and such a large part of the population.

In short, since chronic pain warriors are having more difficult accessing the medication they need to control their pain, anecdotal reports suggest the suicide rate among this population may be rising, according to the Pain News Network.

The good news is that there is a growing trend (thanks Medicare!) to have patients of all backgrounds complete a Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) when they see their PCP.

The PHQ is a screening tool for depression, and it also screens for suicidality.

This can be a very useful tool, and since Medicare implemented requirements for screening tools to be utilized as a part of patient care, other insurance companies are noticing and following suit.

I think medicine and the CDC need to realize that there is an appropriate place for opiate pain medications in chronic pain management.

It’s not necessarily the whole treatment plan, but I think it can be part of a comprehensive treatment plan, and for many people, it’s a necessary part of treatment. It may be the only thing keeping someone going on with the fight against their pain.

If you or someone you know needs help,
visit our suicide prevention resources page.

Follow this journey on Removing the Mask From Invisible Illness.

See also these scholarly articles:

Suicidality_in_chronic_pain_a_review_of Suicidality in chronic pain: a review of the prevalence, risk factors and psychological links

The relationship between chronic pain & suicide-related outcomes



2 thoughts on “Connection Between Chronic Pain and Suicide

  1. Kathy C

    We need to be careful with those Questionnaires. The current trend to disparage people with Chronic Pain, is to treat it as if it s a Mental Illness. Once the determination of Depression, or Anxiety is made, people with Pain are now “Mentally Ill. Once the Mental Health Determination is made, all of the other Issues due to Pain are irrelevant. According to Mental Health Practitioners and Physicians, people with “Mental Illness” are not really “trustworthy” the Pain become attributed to a Mental Health Issue, even when there is a documented Physical Cause.
    The DSMV-4 removed terminology about Pain, removing it from the discussion.
    Depending on your Income and Social Status, Mental Health Practitioners, will be more concerned about underlying Pathology, in people who experience Chronic Pain. They believe there is a “Pay Off” it is not the result of a Physical Injury or process. They truly believe it does not exist. They believe people can be “Talked out of it,” and “Cured.” These Practitioners also believe that random combinations of Pharmaceutical like Anti Depressants, Anti Seizure, and Anti Psychotics are a “Treatment. There is very little Scientific Evidence for any of these beliefs, but that does not factor into their beliefs. Many Psychologists have very little Science background, they are incapable of critical thought, so they believe the latest Advertisements and silly “Studies” the Media promotes. Those attention grabbing headlines, Like “Yoga Cures Back Pain,” or a late night Infomercial about Fish Oil or Supplements, are believable to them, just like the general public.
    There has been no Scientific Investigation into whether any of these Psychological Interventions work. If you follow the Journals, Government Websites, and their Trade Publications, it is very clear, that this topic is avoided. Science would dictate that these “Treatments” would be evaluated in some way. Science would track “Patients” and do a Follow Up, at points in tie after people seek or engage in “treatment..” This has never been done, the facts are inconvenient and unprofitable. Even C.M.S, the Center For Medicare Services has been sidetracked by Industry Lobbyists. C.M.S often has to rely on Billing Information. Industry Lobbyists, and Insiders who now sit on Regulatory Boards told Congress, that collecting data by Government Agencies was “Government Overreach.” These well paid Industry Lawyers, Lobbyists and Insiders are very aware that one data Point can have a serious effect on their profitability, and public perception.
    Government Agencies are not allowed to collect any data that could reflect badly on any profitable Industry. We have to read between the lines on every Report by these Agencies. These Reports contain Disclaimers, they have been gone over carefully by industry Insiders, before they are released. Many Information releases by these Agencies clearly state that the information was taken from Billing Data. This is very limiting, and gives little or no insight into Duration, or effectiveness. Big Pharma was instrumental in this. They could not have the “Government” which is really the American public, interfering with their profits. We can look at the so called “Opiate Epidemic” and see how the numbers were only serious long after the fact. The Government was unable to collect this data in real time, as it was happening. All of the sensational Articles about his issue use numbers fro years ago. One would think if this was a serious “Health Crisis” some Agency would have picked up on it years ago.
    The Psychological aspect of the Chronic Pain issue is very convenient for the Industry. we have an unholy alliance of the Pharma, Medical and Insurance Industries. These Industries decided that making Chronic Pain a Mental Health issue rather than a Medical Issue is more Profitable. They have not proven Scientifically that any of the Psychological Industries are true. Physicians and their employers found it more profitable to avoid “Liability” by determining their Surgical Mistakes and adverse outcomes were due to a nebulous “Mental Health issue.” The Incidence of “Failed Back Surgeries” for example.
    This information has been removed from the public perception. The Media ran pictures of people in Appalachia on Disability,and “Addicted” to Oxycontin. When the general public hears the words “Back Pain” or “Disability, they think of that Industry promoted image. The same thing with the Psychologists, they believe that is the norm. They have no idea of the percentage of people who fake an Injury to collect Disability or for “Attention” or even because of a Mental Health issue. They believe the Mythology, that is their starting point with any patient. It is significant that no “Research” has been done to determine a percentage of people who “Fake it” or have a Psychological Disorder that forces them to believe they are in Pain. The DSMV-IV was rewritten to obscure the Facts and distinctions. Psychologists and “Therapists” are not Scientists, they are subject to the same Media Indoctrination as the general public. The assumptions they make when they see that picture of the person in Appalachia, on Disability, is that he is faking his Back injury for financial reasons. They never tell us his Medical History. The people whose bodies break down after years of hard physical Labor have been censored. They have been removed from the Media.
    The Veterans who return after sustaining traumatic injuries, and left with lifelong Physical Pain are not represented in the Media either. They have been replaced with the image of a Veteran Double Amputee, running a Marathon with their prosthetic legs. The Media runs these “Inspirational Stories” for a reason. For every Veteran out running Marathons, there are thousands left with intractable Pain, but we don’t see them. We only hear about the Veterans with PTSD and “Addiction.” The Media is owned by six Corporations, that also have a financial interest in everything from Pharma to weapons manufacture. These same Corporations have the money to buy our Politicians and influence public opinion. They are proactive, they have the means to get out in front of any issue. They employ Marketing Psychologists, Lawyers, Experts even Psi Ops Specialists. They use Data Scientists to monitor online conversations, Patient Groups, and topics of interest to them. They have the ear of Politicians, Policy Makers and Government Agencies.
    We are truly Post Fact here in America. The same Media narratives we are subjected to every day are influencing Psychologists. We saw with the so called “Opiate Epidemic” how susceptible Physicians were to Pharma Advertising. The Media is claiming that misleading Pharma ads about Oxycontin, led to too any Prescriptions, adn that Physicians took cash and gifts to prescribe Pharma Products. There is no System in place for Physicians to monitor their own prescribing for any Pharma Product, that is not accidental, it is by design. The FDA is not protecting the public. We have to find out after the fact that the Drugs they approved were dangerous.
    The default position of Physicians and Psychiatrists is that Patients that report Side effects are just misguided, or Mentally ill. They are unable to connect the dots. Pharma and Medical Insiders told the at Medical Conventions they could avoid potential Liability by not reporting any of the side effects or keeping track of the drugs they prescribe. The less information they write down in the patient file and Medical Records, the less perceived Liability, so only Medical Information directly related to billing is required. For any of us it is “Groundhog Day” every time we see our Physician, this is by design also. The Emotional Distress associated with this is now a Billable Psychiatric Disorder. The same thing with any other “Chronic Illness” like Heart Failure, High Blood Pressure, or Old Age. Welcome to the end of Science, and the Profit Driven Healthcare System. Facts, Data, and Information are not conducive to profitability.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Zyp Czyk Post author

      We’re trapped in a society of utter indifference to the suffering of “others” in the pursuit of self interest, and we worship at the feet of our deity: profit has become



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