Suicidal tendencies linked to rheumatic, musculoskeletal diseases, claims study

Washington: A new survey has revealed that pain due to rheumatic and musculoskeletal diseases (RMDs) impacts the mental health of people and they are more likely to have suicidal thoughts.

The results were presented at the Annual European Congress of Rheumatology (EULAR 2019).

“This survey highlights the huge importance of pain on the psychological well-being of RMD patients and the critical need to improve the support on offer,” said Professor Thomas Dorner, Chairperson of the Scientific Programme Committee, EULAR.

The study conducted a survey on over 900 RMD patients which revealed that pain had caused one in ten to have suicidal thoughts within the previous four weeks. Pain also caused 58 per cent to feel that everything was unmanageable for them.

Another important finding was a reciprocal relationship between sleep and pain where 69 per cent people identified the quality of their sleep as having a negative influence on their pain. In return, two-thirds of patients rarely or never felt fully rested when they wake up in the morning, with 36 per cent taking painkillers to improve their sleep.

“Our study indicates that pain and poor quality of sleep have a huge impact on a patient’s daily life, especially on their mental health,” said Lene Mandrup Thomsen, Danish Rheumatism Association, Denmark.

“We are using the results of this study in our political work to help campaign for better treatment and support for patients with chronic pain in our healthcare system,” Thomsen added.

Of the participants, 83 per cent have pain daily or several times a week and 46 per cent have received strong painkillers over the last year.

“It is imperative for rheumatology services to routinely measure anxiety and depression in order to intervene before the individual is in crisis,” said Dr Hayley McBain, University of London.


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