Study Shows People With More Chronic Pain More Likely to Commit Suicide
by Steven Ertelt
November 12, 2008
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A new study from University of Michigan researchers finds that people with more chronic pain are more likely to commit suicide. The study is important now that Washington has become the second state to legalize assisted suicide after Oregon.
The study included 5,700 adults and it found those who have chronic pain other than arthritis were four times more likely to have attempted suicide than adults without pain.
Patients with head pain or pain linked to multiple areas of the body were most likely to consider suicide — indicating pain relief continues to be a great method of reducing the desire for assisted suicide.
According to a Reuters report, among those with three or more painful conditions, 14 percent said they had at some point thought about suicide, while nearly 6 percent reported an actual suicide attempt.
"Pain is one of those factors that may make someone feel more hopeless and less optimistic about the future and increases the chances that they will think about suicide," lead researcher Dr. Mark A. Ilgen said.
Bioethics watchdog Wesley J. Smith responded to the news.
"I have met people with severe chronic pain in my travels and at my speeches," he said. "These people live very difficult lives that requires strong medical and emotional support from family, friends, and communities to help them keep going."
He said the results show "another reason why the euthanasia/assisted suicide movement is so dangerous."
"Once we accept the idea that an acceptable societal response to severe health difficulties is facilitated killing, on what basis will we deprive these suffering people–whose pain can be more severe and longer lasting than that of people who are dying–from assisted suicide or euthanasia?" Smith asks.
"In the end, as in the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the public’s widespread support of Kevorkian, we won’t," he concludes.
The study was published in the November-December issue of General Hospital Psychiatry.
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