The association of chronic pain and suicide

Semin Clin Neuropsychiatry. 1999 Jul;4(3):221-7. doi: 10.153/SCNP00400221.


Chronic pain patients (CPPs) are at greater risk for depression than the general population. As such, one would expect suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and suicide completions to be commonly found within chronic pain (CP) populations. To explore these issues, 18 studies relating to the association of CP and suicide were subjected to a structured review. These studies indicated that suicide ideation, suicide attempts, and suicide completions are commonly found in CPP populations. In addition, a number of controlled studies and suicide completion rate studies indicated that CP may be a suicide risk factor. Finally, a review of known suicide risk factors from other populations indicated that CP populations commonly exhibit other suicide risk factors. Psychiatric examiners should consider CP to be a potential suicide risk factor. In addition, in all CPPs exhibiting suicidal behavior, a careful search for associated comorbid suicide risk factors should be initiated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Humans
  • Pain / psychology*
  • Suicide / psychology*