Living with Chronic Pain
Facts on Chronic Pain and Preventing Depression
Due to the nature of chronic pain, many people that suffer from this illness also suffer from depression and anxiety. Even worse, some people who live with chronic pain have divulged their wish to ultimately escape the pain by ending their own lives.
First and foremost, if you are having suicidal thoughts, please talk to someone you trust immediately. Unsurprisingly, research has demonstrated a connection between suicide and pain. In fact, 90% of people who die by taking their own life have a diagnosable, and likely treatable sickness including anxiety, depression, or substance abuse.
It is well known that chronic pain and chronic illness can increase the risk of developing depression and that pain medications influence impulse control and mood. These symptoms can lead people who suffer from unbearable pain to contemplate taking their life. This is very troubling because suicide does not represent a “normal” way to cope with long-term pain. However, chronic pain sufferers often feel as though there is are stigmas associated with seeking medication and treatment and thus avoid getting help.
If someone you know shows any of the following warning signs of serious depression, it is possible that they need your help:
- Inexplicable low mood, hopelessness, pessimism, anxiety, and/or desperation
- Sleep problems, withdrawal, or psychic pain and tension
- Increased substance use, including both drugs and/or alcohol
- Taking unnecessary risks and recent impulsiveness
- Expressing a robust desire to die or threatening suicide
- Cleaning the house, giving away possessions, making a plan
- Abrupt purchase of a firearm or medications or poison
- Sudden anger or rage
If you are concerned about a friend, family member, or co-worker, be willing to listen and take them seriously. It is important to ask if they are considering suicide so that you can be prepared to help them seek professional assistance.