Fibromyalgia and Suicide Risk


Understanding Why Fibro and Thoughts of Suicide Are Linked

Suicide is a concerning issue, and one that deserves a better level of understanding. With increased understanding, there comes a chance for increased prevention through effective treatment and available interventions. By identifying factors that contribute to suicidal thoughts and actions, people that are more prone to suicide can be recognized and seek the help they deserve.

Studies find commonalities in people that are more prone to suicide attempts and completed suicides. The list of characteristics includes:

  • Being a woman. Men complete suicide four times more, but women are three times more likely to attempt suicide.
  • Chronic pain — regardless of the source.
  • Poor psychological health marked by high levels of depression and anxiety or low self-esteem.
  • Poor sleep, which includes trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, poor sleep continuity, and poor quality of sleep.

If you look at these four characteristics, an association should become clear between factors that lead to suicide and symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Women are more likely than men to have the disease. The primary symptom of fibro is chronic, widespread pain. Often, fibro is associated with mental health issues with about 40 percent of people diagnosed with fibro also having depression. Lastly, many people with fibro report issues with increased fatigue and reduced quality and quantity of sleep related to the disease.

People with fibromyalgia are more likely to have suicidal ideation, which means they think that suicide seems like a good solution to the problem of their symptoms, and they are more likely to have suicide attempts then the typical person.

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Even more interesting is the idea that people with fibro will have more thoughts and attempts of suicide than other groups with chronic pain. The multiple layers and dimensions of fibro lead to a more negative impact that chronic pain alone.

With all of this evidence, you are left with important questions. What are you going to do to avoid this situation? What are you going to do to defy the odds and flourish with fibro while others wilt under the pressure?

If you read other information, people will tell you to start an exercise routine, improve your sleep hygiene, watch what you eat, and utilize measures to improve your self-esteem. All of these aspects are valuable, but you have heard them all before.

The plans that encourage walking four days per week sound great — if only you could have less pain. The inspiration to eat healthy meals makes a lot of sense — if only you had the energy to stand in front of the stove. Of course, you would like to get good sleep, everyone would, but that option seems like an impossibility at this point. Right now, everything seems out of reach.

Fight Fibro With Optimism

If you find yourself in this situation, the problem is not pain, diet, exercise, energy or sleep separately. The problem is the cumulative effect that becomes bigger than any of the individual problems alone. The problem is pessimism. Pessimism can be described in many ways including:

  • Seeing the glass as half-empty rather than half-full.
  • Seeing life as a never-ending journey of disappointment.
  • Focusing on how other people have things better or easy than you.
  • An inability to find positive aspects about the people, places or things around you.


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