One of the most fundamental connections in pain management is the massive emotional burden that patients face as a result of chronic pain. The disturbing co-morbidity of chronic pain and suicide has led to multiple studies on how to best treat patients in order to prevent future tragedies.
“Having chronic pain means you are living in a physical and psychological state that you can’t control, and there’s a hopelessness to it,” says clinical psychologist Laurie Ferguson, PhD, Director of Education Development at the Global Healthy Living Foundation.
Having suicidal thoughts is not a rare occurrence when coping with chronic pain. Approximately 20 percent of all people whit chronic pain reach that psychological and emotional low point.
According to creakyjoints.org,
“A recent study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine analyzed the presence of chronic pain in people who died by suicide. It included data from 2003 to 2014 on 123,181 people across 18 states. Researchers found that 8.8 percent of cases included evidence of chronic pain. The most common conditions associated with suicide were back pain, cancer, and arthritis, with the majority of decedents having more than one condition. (The researchers noted that the results probably underrepresent the true percentage of suicide deaths who had chronic pain, given the nature of the data and how it was captured.)
Several studies have also found an increased risk of suicidal behaviors, including suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and completed suicide, in people with fibromyalgia.”
The Sad Story We Hear Too Often
In 2013, BrainLife.org told the story of Jon from Phoenix, AZ. Jon was 17 at the time (don’t worry he made it). Jon suffered from Multiple-Sclerosis.
MS is a rare illness where a patient’s own immune system eats away at the protective sheathing surrounding their nerves. This causes vision loss, pain, fatigue and impaired coordination. It is an extremely painful ailment and its’ degenerative, it tends to get worse with time and there is no cure.
We come to Jon’s story because in 2013 he tried to escape the pain by gathering pills throughout his home and taking a whole pile of pills with a glass of water. BrainLife wrote “Hours later, he woke up disoriented, confused, and suffering from severe stomach cramps. “My mom heard me vomiting and took me to the hospital,” says Jon.
His life had been falling apart for years, at 11 he started feeling pain in his limbs, at 13 leg cramps kept him from sleeping. By 17, Jon couldn’t see, walked with a limp, and his ability to play sports was over.
“The day I attempted suicide, I was with a group of friends at a gas station. I offered to run in and get some sodas. My friend said, ‘Stay here; I’ll run in real quick,'” Jon said, then 24. “I suddenly felt like I would always be treated differently.”
The despair that Jon was feeling is a sad story that we’ve heard far too many times. According to a study from Psychosomatic Medicine in 2006 up to 50% of chronic pain patients consider suicide to escape the consistent agony they’re in. Relative to the general population that’s an increase of almost double.
If you’re experiencing this kind of long-term chronic pain and have had thoughts of suicide, please, PLEASE get help today. In a majority of cases steps can be taken to manage and mitigate pain, provide relief and then psychological professionals can provide event more help. No-one should have to suffer so much pain that they consider death the only escape.
No matter where your pain originates from: Back pain, neck pain, head pain, limbic or neurological issues related to MS or Cancer or other chronic illnesses, there is always hope.
Summa Pain Care’s mission in this area is to handle the physical pain, give patients that sigh of relief, that break in the onslaught to allow psychological treatment to progress. In some extreme situations a mental health evaluation needs to come first. But the vast majority of people, just need to get out of pain and the rest can follow naturally.
As the premier pain management specialists in Arizona Summa Pain Care,
- Performs specialized tests for diagnosing your chronic pain conditions.
- Appropriately prescribes and/or manages medications to any unique conditions at varying levels of severity. Also help reduce or eliminate your prescription pain medications.
Find your nearest location in Peoria, Phoenix or North Scottsdale today and don’t put this off any longer. Unaddressed back and neck pain generally doesn’t improve. Call our Phoenix location at 623.580.4357 , you can reach Peoria at 623.776.8686 or contact us in North Scottsdale at 480.786.1771.
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