Late Breaking News
Pain and Suicide
To determine the link between chronic pain and suicide risk, Mark A. Ilgen, PhD, of the Veterans Affairs Serious Mental Illness Treatment Resource and Evaluation Center in Ann Arbor, MI, and colleagues retrospectively examined the associations between clinical diagnosis of noncancer pain conditions and suicide.
Using data from the National Death Index and VHA treatment records, researchers identified 4,863,036 individuals who received services in fiscal year 2005 and were alive at the start of fiscal year 2006. The data were examined for associations between death by suicide in fiscal years 2006-2008 and baseline clinical diagnoses of pain-related conditions such as arthritis, back pain, migraine, neuropathy, headache or tension headache, fibromyalgia, as well as psychogenic pain.
Elevated suicide risks were observed for each pain condition except arthritis and neuropathy, although the association between pain and suicide death were reduced when analyses controlled for accompanying psychiatric conditions. Significant associations remained, however, for back pain, migraine, and psychogenic pain.
“There is a need for increased awareness of suicide risk in individuals with certain noncancer pain diagnoses, in particular back pain, migraine, and psychogenic pain,” the study concluded.
The TBI study, meanwhile, was initiated during a six-month period in 2009 when 161 patients who received a suspected brain injury while on duty in Iraq were referred to an outpatient TBI clinic at a combat support hospital.
Study subjects -- predominantly male, average age of 27, with 6.5 years of military service -- were divided into three groups based on the total number of TBIs received during their entire lives– zero, one or multiple (two or more), with the most recent usually having occurred within the days immediately preceding their evaluation and inclusion in the study.
Using standard evaluation tools, patients were surveyed about their symptoms of depression, PTSD and concussions, and their suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
"An important feature of the study is that, by being on the ground in Iraq, we were able to compile a unique data set on active military personnel and head injury," Bryan recounted. "We collected data on a large number of servicemembers within two days of impact."
- Bryan CJ, Clemans TA. Repetitive Traumatic Brain Injury, Psychological Symptoms, and Suicide Risk in a Clinical Sample of Deployed Military Personnel JAMA Psychiatry. 2013 May 15:1-6. doi: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.1093. [Epub ahead of print]
- Ilgen MA, Kleinberg F, Ignacio RV, Bohnert ASB, et. al. Noncancer Pain Conditions and Risk of Suicide. JAMA Psychiatry. 2013 May 22:1-6. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2013.908. [Epub ahead of print.]
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