A recent study in Neurology has shown that people with comorbid fibromyalgia and migraines are at higher risk of suicide. Both conditions alone come with a higher risk of suicide as is. They found that people with comorbid FM and migraines experienced poorer sleep quality… which is hardly a surprise since one of the major FM symptoms is sleep dysfunction, but it also happens to be a migraine trigger. And this, in my personal experience, can be a vicious cycle. Sleep deprivation and status migraines certainly plummet my mood and have led to suicidal ideation and suicidal intent.
Migraines and FM are pretty comorbid with the with around 35% having FM and chronic migraines. Episodic it is a range of 12-31%.
In the study of 1,318 migraine patients, 10.1 % were found to also have comorbid FM. Of the migraine patients, 27.3 % reported suicidal ideation and 6.9 % reported suicide attempts and were higher in patients with comorbid FM than in those without; ideation: 58.3% and attempt: 17.6%. With higher risk in the subgroups of migraine with aura, migraine without aura and chronic migraines.
To put that into perspective the rate of suicide in the world is 1.8% and the rate of suicide attempts is 2.7%. One study in Spain looking at FM patients found 16.7 % attempted suicide 1 to 3 times. A Demark study found suicide attempts in FM patients 10.5 times greater than the population average.
This is why unmanaged pain is a problem. And I should know when my pain wasn’t managed I had a great deal of suicidal ideation and a suicide attempt. If anyone had asked me why I would have said it was madness to continue an existence like that willingly. Forcing myself to work. Enduring that suffering. With a smile on my face. There is no valid reason to let someone suffer like that. None at all. And inevitably they will seriously consider ending their lives. I was in this survival mode of pain for more than a decade… how could it Not have occurred to me without proper treatment?
Pain should be taken very seriously. It doesn’t seem to be these days. And that concerns me a great deal. It is as if lives don’t matter. Quality of life doesn’t matter. The fact suicide occurs when Pain exceeds our capacity to Cope with it.
You add in chronic migraines with fibromyalgia… or complicate an already complicated pain situation with more pain and of course suicide risk factors increase. This is why pain treatment has to be managed carefully, looking at the entire person and addressing all issues. Coping, mood, the pain, work, and family. And any other factor the patient sees as important for their care. It isn’t just medication. It is the strategies to deal with what the medication cannot treat, and it cannot treat that much of the pain, to be honest.