HEALINE

Many With Chronic Pain Achieve Remission From Suicidality

Having a confidant boosts likelihood of remission, while poverty decreases recovery likelihood

FRIDAY, April 26, 2019 (Pharmacist's Briefing) -- Almost two-thirds of formerly suicidal Canadians with chronic pain were free from suicidal thoughts in the previous year, according to a study published online April 9 in The Journal of Pain.

Esme Fuller-Thomson, Ph.D., and Lyndsey D. Kotchapaw, M.S.W., both from the University of Toronto, used data from the Canadian Community Health Survey-Mental Health to identify the prevalence and correlates of recovery from suicidal thoughts among those with chronic pain. A secondary analysis was conducted using a sample of 635 Canadians with chronic and disabling pain who had ever had serious suicidal thoughts to identify the prevalence and characteristics of those who are no longer considering suicide.

The researchers found that 63 percent of Canadians in chronic pain who had seriously considered suicide at some point in their life had been free of these thoughts in the previous year. Those free of suicidal ideation were significantly more likely to be older, women, white, and better educated; to have a confidant; and to use spirituality to cope. Those free of suicidal ideation were less likely to have low household incomes, difficulties meeting basic expenses, and a history of depression and anxiety disorders. Those with a confidant had 87 percent higher odds of being in remission from suicidal thoughts versus those reporting no such relationship.

"These findings provide a hopeful message of resilience and recovery in the context of disabling pain and help to improve targeted outreach to those most at risk for unremitting suicidality," the authors write.

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