Chronic pain increases suicide risk
JAMA Psychiatry (2013) doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.908
People suffering from non-cancer pain - especially back, migraine and psychogenic - are at increased risk of committing suicide, according to an American retrospective analysis of 4,863,086 people aged at least 18 years.
Arthritis was the most common painful condition, experienced by 42.7 per cent of those analysed, followed by back pain (22.8 per cent), neuropathic pain (5.4 per cent), headache or tension headache (3.7 per cent), migraine (1.7 per cent), fibromyalgia (1.6 per cent) and psychogenic pain (0.4 per cent). Over the next three years, 4823 (0.01 per cent) people committed suicide.
After controlling for age, sex and co-morbidity, all of the painful conditions except arthritis and neuropathy increased suicide risk: back pain (by 33 per cent), headache or tension headache (38 per cent), migraine (68 per cent), fibromyalgia (45 per cent) and psychogenic pain (161 per cent).
Chronic pain can evoke a range of psychiatric conditions. Nevertheless, after controlling for concomitant psychiatric diseases, the increased risk of suicide remained statistically significant for back pain (13 per cent), migraine (34 per cent) and psychogenic pain (58 per cent).