Prevalence and characteristics associated with chronic noncancer pain in suicide decedents
The aims were to estimate the prevalence of chronic noncancer pain (CNCP) in suicide decedents, and compare sociodemographic and clinical characteristics of people who die by suicide (i) with and without a history of CNCP and (ii) among decedents with CNCP who are younger (<65 years) and older (65 + years).
We examined all closed cases of intentional deaths in Australia in 2014, utilizing the National Coronial Information System.
We identified 2,590 closed cases of intentional deaths in Australia in 2014 in decedents over 18 years of age. CNCP was identified in 14.6% of cases. Decedents with CNCP were more likely to be older, have more mental health and physical health problems, and fewer relationship problems, and were more likely to die by poisoning from drugs, compared with decedents without CNCP. Comparisons of older and younger decedents with CNCP found that compared to younger (<65 years) decedents with CNCP, older decedents (65 + years) were less likely to have mental health problems.
This is the first national study to examine the characteristics of suicide deaths with a focus on people with CNCP. Primary care physicians should be aware of the increased risk for suicide in people living with CNCP, and it may be useful for clinicians to screen for CNCP among those presenting with suicidal behaviors.