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Migraine, Chronic Back Pain Tied to Higher Suicide Risk
Date:5/22/2013

ized," the researchers said.

Disability also could be a factor in the increased suicide risk, particularly for people with back pain who used to be healthy and active, Ritchie said.

Ilgen said it is not known whether there are unique warning signs of suicide for chronic pain patients. He urged family and friends of patients to keep a close eye out for standard warning signs, such as intense depression, expressions of hopelessness, statements about suicidal thoughts or plans, or any indication that the person is not oriented toward the future.

"My best recommendation is to encourage the patient to reach out for professional help," Ilgen said. "Ask about their suicidal thoughts. Don't just skirt the issue; directly ask."

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about suicide prevention.

SOURCES: Mark Ilgen, Ph.D, Veterans Affairs Serious Mental Illness Treatment Resource and Evaluation Center, Ann Arbor, Mich.; Elspeth Cameron Ritchie, M.D., retired Army colonel and psychiatrist, Washington, D.C.; May 22, 2013 JAMA Psychiatry, online


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