adequate pain relief and suicide

Was going through some old journals and came across an article on pain and suicide. This was the “first” study to find that moderate to severe pain caused suicide to happen. **clap, clap, clap** Tell me something I DON’T KNOW. I don’t get how they have to do a study in order for doctors and other mental health professionals to realize that any type of prolonged pain (physical or mental) is going to result in suicide. It astounds me, it really does. And the worse part is that these people are not being treated. That’s the other thing that drives suicide, untreated pain. Granted you can’t treat psychological pain like you can physical pain. There just isn’t a pill you can take to relieve psychological suffering. That is the sad part. But you can assess it. You can hear the person talk about their pain. That is all the person wants really, is to be heard.

Physical pain is ambiguous. And the study didn’t focus on any particular pain in the body. The researchers just asked have you had pain in the last four weeks and then they rated it. So there is no telling that this pain was coming from the head, back, legs, stomach, etc. Does it matter? I don’t think so. I just think that more doctors should ASK their patients if they are experiencing pain and how severe it is to them. And also ask if they are thinking about suicide because of this pain. But most doctors don’t have the TIME to ask these questions.

In the months after my psychiatric hospitalization, my doctor asked for three months if I was suicidal because of my pain or for another reason. Then, the questions stopped. He began to ask more about what was causing my pain and try and help me there. A few months ago he asked me again if I had suicidal thoughts. He then told me that he cares a lot about me and that he would miss me should I kill myself. That took me off guard. I know I have a good relationship with my doctor but do other patients have good relationships with theirs? And are the people that are prescribing narcotics regularly checking to see if their patient is at risk for suicide? My doctor has stopped asking me if the pain medication is adequate for me. Sometimes it is, other times it is not. And I think that finding an adequate pain relief regimen is key to saving a life.

I know that I am constantly complaining on my blog about my pain. But I have pain meds to control it. Even if at times it is inadequate. Do I think about suicide? Yes, I do. But I have protective factors that are preventing me from going through with my plan. And I hate these factors because I wish I could kill myself. I know that I will be missed by my blog readers, my family, my therapist and my psychiatrist. I have a sense of belongingness to these people and as much as they drive me crazy, they keep me here. So all I can do is write about my pain and hope that it helps someone to know they are not alone in their pain too.

7 thoughts on “adequate pain relief and suicide

  1. It’s not surprising that pain is related to depression and suicide risk. We deal with that in workers’ compensation cases frequently. Of course, the insurance companies try to say it is not related so they don’t have to pay for treatment.. But common sense tells anyone that it can be. Praying for you. And I hope your pain is minimal as well. Have you tried marijuana?

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  2. It’s interesting to me since I have health insurance that has complete electronic records that any health professional I see (obgyn, optometrist, specialist, primary care doctor, etc) can read my charts and if they don’t do that. The computer automatically has current information on any diagnosis I have (mental or otherwise) as well as any medication I am taking. I have not once had my primary care physician ask about my mental health in any way whatsoever. However, when I had an appointment with a cardiologist who I had NEVER seen before asked me how my depression symptoms were currently. It depends on it being a caring doctor as well as one who has a little bit of time and is comfortable asking those questions and the potential answers they many get back.
    PS I’d be one of those bloggers who would miss you. Hope your pain is minimal today.

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  3. Reblogged this on RSD Advisory- Where Chronic Pain & Depression Collide and commented:
    The following blog is about Adequate Pain Relief and Suicide! I found it both insightful and worth sharing. CRPS/RSD and Chronic pain itself causes suicidal ideations within us. Many will not discuss it, some will say it doesn’t exist within them, other’s will admit it. I am one of them. When you live with constant non stop burning, stabbing, hypersensitivity, deep visceral pain that doesn’t seem to let up, muscle pain, atrophy, your skin discolors, you have lack of blood flow, your hair falls out during one period of time, grows during another, your nails are thin, cracked with lines running through them, your flesh is on fire and you just can’t seem to get a break enough for the continuous wave… yeah, you think of ways out. Most of us do not really want to die, on the contrary, we want to live, but…

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