| chronic pain

The Danger of Suicide from Chronic Headache Pain

“the highest annual incidence of suicide attempts”

According to an article published in the Journal of Pain Research, “chronic headache is the second leading cause of years lived with disability worldwide.” Researchers report the results of a 10 year study of Veterans and chronic pain. Over 3 million Veterans with at least 1 chronic pain condition—neck, back, head, joint, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, fibromyalgia, or other noncancer pain—were included. Compared to other pains, chronic headache, especially when coupled with traumatic brain injury (TBI), led to a higher risk of suicide attempts.

The study, the largest examining chronic pain disorders and suicide attempts in Veterans, stated, “Chronic headache is characterized by unique neurobiological and psychological factors that may distinctly contribute to suicide risk in veterans with TBI. Chronic head pain tends to be particularly debilitating even beyond the general experience of chronic pain, as it is uniquely characterized by a severe limitation of self-efficacy due to an associated sense of subjective helplessness.” The study concluded, “Our data underscore the importance of identifying specific types of chronic pain in veterans with comorbid TBI and sex disparity associated with suicide attempts when targeting suicide prevention measures.”


Read the article.

Holly Caster