Tag Archives: suicide

Pain Contributes to Suicide

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

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 suicides and need for new depression drugs

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 “Psychogenic” Pain Boosts Suicide Risk Most

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 PsychiatryIn 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?

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.  
Continue reading

Many Opioid Overdoses May Be Suicides

Many Opioid Overdoses May Be Suicides – WebMD – By Amy Norton – April 25, 2018 (HealthDay News) 

Having had a taste of what my pain is like without opioids for a few months, I can understand this situation only too well.

Facing the uncertainty after being threatened with reduced and insufficient, prescribing (or none at all), I wonder if some patients use their last opioid prescription to kill themselves.

As the United States grapples with an ongoing opioid epidemic, experts are calling attention to a hidden aspect of the crisis: Many overdose deaths may, in fact, be suicides. Continue reading

CDC Obscuring Rate Of Suicide Among Opioid Overdoses

Difficult To Measure Rate Of Suicide Among Deaths From Opioid Overdoses – Kaiser Health News – March 2018

Mady Ohlman was 22 on the evening some years ago when she stood in a friend’s bathroom looking down at the sink.

“I had set up a bunch of needles filled with heroin because I wanted to just do them back-to-back-to-back,” Ohlman recalled. She doesn’t remember how many she injected before collapsing, or how long she lay drugged-out on the floor.

She wanted to be dead, she said.   Continue reading

Psychogenic Pain and Iatrogenic Suicide

Psychogenic Pain and Iatrogenic Suicide – Global Summit on Diagnostic Alternatives – Richard Lawhern July 5, 2013

A recent large-sample analysis investigated the association between several named chronic pain conditions and suicide.  

This analysis provides suggestive evidence that thousands of patients who have been diagnosed with a psychiatric condition called “psychogenic pain” may have been placed at greater risk of suicide by the diagnostic label itself.  

Like much of psychosomatic medicine, the diagnosis lacks medical evidence of validity.    Continue reading

Not pain, but ‘existential distress’ leads to suicide

It’s not pain but ‘existential distress’ that leads people to assisted suicide, study suggests – The Washington Post – May 2017

I don’t see how to separate our lifelong chronic pain from existential pain. Pain that will never “get better” will have a strong effect on a person’s experience and view of their own existence.

A few decades ago, doctor-assisted suicide was considered a fringe idea despite surveys showing many physicians supported the idea under certain circumstances.

While doctor-assisted suicide remains a polarizing issue, some countries and states have begun to accept it. Continue reading

Chronic pain and suicide risk: A comprehensive review

Chronic pain and suicide risk: A comprehensive review. – PubMed – NCBI – Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2017 Aug

Death by suicide is one of the leading causes of mortality worldwide.

Because individuals with chronic pain are at least twice as likely to report suicidal behaviors or to complete suicide, it is of utmost importance to target which risk factors contribute the most to increasing suicidality.

This comprehensive review aims to provide an update on research advancements relating to the identification of potential risk factors for suicidality in individuals with chronic pain.   Continue reading