Chronic Pain Among Suicide Decedents, 2003 to 2014 | Annals of Internal Medicine | American College of Physicians – Sept 2018
The CDC finally looks at suicide and chronic pain:
“increases in opioid availability are not associated with greater suicide risk from opioid overdose among patients with chronic pain.”
During 2003 to 2014, the NVDRS identified 123,181 suicide decedents aged 10 years or older, 10,789 (8.8%) of whom had evidence of chronic pain. The percentage of decedents with chronic pain increased from 7.4% in 2003 to 10.2% in 2014, but the percentage who died by opioid overdose remained low overall (<2.0%). Continue reading
Coincidentally, the month of September is both “Pain Awareness Month” and “Suicide Prevention Month”.
Judging from all the articles I’ve found discussing the link between pain and suicide, the juxtaposition of these two awareness campaigns is a fortuitous coincidence, a chance to raise awareness of the potentially deadly consequences of poor pain control.
Perhaps it can start some necessary conversations about how the withdrawal of opioid pain management could exacerbate suicidal impulses. Continue reading
Suicide By Opioid: New Research Suggests Overdoses Should Be Classified As Self-Harm | Kaiser Health News – By Rachel Bluth – Aug 2018
There has been a steady stream of headlines declaring that life expectancy in the United States is decreasing. And the often-cited reason is the climbing number of opioid-related deaths.
Those two facts piqued the interest of a group of researchers who sought to reframe the way these trends can be viewed.
“We have a problem that is otherwise being underestimated,” said Ian Rockett, an injury epidemiologist and professor emeritus at West Virginia University.
Suicide rates have been steadily climbing, Rockett said, but their numbers are likely even higher. Continue reading
Ultra-Low-Dose Opioid May Quash Severe Suicidal Ideation – Nancy A. Melville – February 24, 2016
I found this article from last year that shows an unexpected beneficial effect of opioids on mental health. These are truly wonder drugs.
The short-term use of ultra-low-dose buprenorphine (multiple brands) may reduce suicidal ideation in severely depressed patients, new research shows.
“If our results are corroborated by further studies, the short-term use of ultra-low-dose sublingual buprenorphine may emerge as an acute, symptomatic, safe treatment for suicidal ideation,” lead author Yoram Yovell, MD, PhD, of the Institute for the Study of Affective Neuroscience, University of Haifa, in Israel. Continue reading
Why do people kill themselves? – KevinMD.com – March 2017 – by Greg Smith, MD
I use an ongoing spreadsheet to keep track of and to report my demographics and stats for each telepsychiatry consult shift I do. We have now gone over thirty thousand consults as a group.
It never ceases to amaze me, as I fire up my computer, log on to my systems and bring up the spreadsheet for the shift ahead, that one column is remarkably uniform and consistent, sometimes for days at a time: SI.
SI stands for suicidal ideation. And that is one of the most common chief psychiatric complaints we see in the emergency department. Continue reading
Though the two suicides in the articles below aren’t classified as pain-or-opioid-related, it’s obviously a big factor in some cases for some people.
If all suicides of anyone who had suffered from some sort of untreated (or even treated) chronic pain were counted, I think the number would be shockingly high. Continue reading
Suicidality in chronic pain: a review of the prevalence, risk factors and psychological links. – PubMed – May 2006
This study was done over 10 years ago, when the “crackdown” on opioids was just beginning. Since then, the situation for pain patients has become infinitely worse and many no longer have access to effective pain
Increasing numbers of pain patients are committing suicide because there is no other relief from their crushing pain. Continue reading
Rise in U.S. suicides highlights need for new depression drugs | Reuters – by Julie Steenhuysen – June 8, 2018
U.S. health authorities said on Thursday that there had been a sharp rise in suicide rates across the country since the beginning of the century and called for a comprehensive approach to addressing depression.
The report was issued the same week as the high-profile suicides of celebrities Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade.
As much as I’m distressed about these suicides, I’m still glad the deaths of these well-liked, publicly-known individuals are drawing deserved attention to this issue. Continue reading
Chronic, Noncancer Pain Boosts Suicide Risk – Fran Lowry – May 28, 2013
Though a bit older, this study found that pain is an important predictor of suicide risk – especially when it is diagnosed as “psychogenic pain”.
Previous research suggests that individuals with pain may be at increased risk for suicidal thoughts and behaviors, but it is likely that “not all pain is created equal” in terms of its association with suicide, and that the association between pain and suicide could vary, depending on the type of pain patients experience, Dr. Ilgen said.
The study was published online May 22, 2013 in JAMA Psychiatry. In the current study, the investigators sought to understand the degree to which specific pain conditions related to suicide risk. Continue reading
Is Addiction or Undertreated Pain Causing Suicides? – April 27, 2018 – Pain News Network – By Pat Anson, Editor
A new op/ed in The New England Journal of Medicine focuses on an aspect of the overdose crisis that’s rarely discussed – how opioids are a “silent contributor” to the nation’s rising suicide rate.
But critics say the article misses the mark on why a growing number of pain patients are having suicidal thoughts and taking their own lives.
Many Opioid Overdoses May Be Suicides
I’m glad this is receiving more attention (see Many Opioid Overdoses May Be Suicides), though it seems to be getting lost in the incessant roar of opiophobia.