A new study published in the journal Neurology says that people who suffer from fibromyalgia and migraines are at increased risk of suicide.
Researchers from the University of Taipei surveyed 1,318 people with migraine headaches, and 10.1% of them also had fibromyalgia. Four out of five of the survey respondents were women.
The results didn’t surprise Dr. Ginevra Liptan, who founded the first practice devoted to fibromyalgia in Lake Oswego, Oregon.
“Several different studies have demonstrated that that the risk of suicide is higher in fibromyalgia,” she said. ” I think a huge contributor is that people suffering from this ” invisible” illness often feel misunderstood by the medical community- and even sometimes by their family. ”
Of 1,318 patients with migraine included in the analysis 10,1% were found to have co morbid Fibromyalgia. Patients with migraine and co morbid FM had higher headache frequency and headache-related disability, poor sleep quality, and were more depressed/anxious in comparison to those patients who only had migraine.
Of the patients with migraine 27.3% reported suicidal ideation and 6.9% reported suicide attempts. These results were even higher in patients with co morbid FM (58.3% thought about it and 17.6% attempted.).
The researchers also found an association between FM co morbidity and a higher suicide risk in three different migraine subgroups, i.e., migraine without aura, migraine with aura, and chronic migraine. Importantly, FM co morbidity was found to be a predictor of suicidal ideation and attempts in patients with migraine.
Based on these results the authors believe that co morbid FM is associated with a high risk of suicide in migraine patients and awareness of suicide risk should be increased in this specific group of people.
Chronic pain sufferers of all indications are at increased risk of suicide. National Pain Report reported on how NASCAR legend, Dick Trickle, ended his life because of chronic back pain.
If you do not already have a mental health professional as part of your pain management team, you should consider it.
If you or a loved one are in emotional distress or have suicidal thoughts, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has counselors available 24 hours day, seven days a week, at 800-273-TALK (8255).
Editor’s Note: If you or a loved one has fibromyalgia, Dr. Liptan has agreed to write an occasional column answering some reader’s questions and comments. Send your question to us via email firstname.lastname@example.org