PRA Health Sciences
PRA Health Sciences

From the time she was eight years old, Danielle Byron Henry experienced excruciatingly painful migraine headaches. Her father, a doctor, used every resource at his disposal to find her the best possible care. But Danielle's pain could not be controlled enough to allow her to live the quality of life she deserved, and modern science held no answers.

Even with the support of wonderful parents, adoring friends, and caring healthcare professionals, Danielle could not endure the battle she faced with pain any longer. She took her life when she was 17 years old. She never lived to fulfill her dream of becoming a standup comedian, FBI agent, or stockbroker.

Dr. Webster will be presenting at PAINWeek in Las Vegas on September 6 at 4pm PT, speaking on “Managing Opioid Risks & Adverse Effects in a Politically Charged Environment.”

September has been designated Pain Awareness Month, and the American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA) uses that as an opportunity to raise public awareness of issues associated with chronic pain. The ACPA encourages all of us to get involved by talking about pain and its ramifications with family and friends, healthcare providers, policymakers, and the media.

The goal is to spread the message that chronic pain is a national epidemic that too often leads to stigma, suspicion, isolation, financial hardship, lost academic and career opportunities, and a decreased quality of life. Too often, it can also lead to depression or even suicide.

Pain and depression are so intimately intertwined that it can be difficult to determine which is the cause and which is the effect. According to the Mayo Clinic, depression can often cause pain. In fact, backaches, stomachaches, headaches, and the like are sometimes the only manifestations of depression. But severe persistent chronic pain and its related hardships, including stress and the inability to sleep, also can cause depression.

It can be a vicious cycle. Pain can cause depression. Depression then increases the pain which causes even greater depression, and so on.

Unfortunately, people in pain are more likely than the general population to die by suicide. A Denmark study found that 6% of the people with chronic pain who were studied attempted suicide. That was 3.76 times the number of people that would have been expected to try to take their own lives in the general population.

People in pain can reach a point of hopelessness and mental fatigue that, too often, leaves suicide as the only means of escape.

It’s a cycle that has an impact on virtually every person: Danielle is more than just one of the suicide statistics to me. She was the daughter of my close friends, Dan and Diane.

Seeking hope

The New York Times recently reported suicide rates reached a 30-year high in the United States. Nearly every age group, race, and gender saw staggering increases. Although nearly 45,000 people are reported to take their lives annually in the U.S., no one knows the reasons for all of the suicides.

According to Martin D. Cheatle, Ph.D., writing for PubMed Central® (PMC), the suicide risk is so high for chronic pain patients that “it must be assumed that some proportion of those who die of drug [read: opioid] overdoses might have intended to end their lives, not just temporarily relieve their pain.” For some patients, the combination of access to opioids and unmanageable pain is unsustainable.

Seeking hope resized

September has been designated Pain Awareness Month, and the American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA) uses that as an opportunity to raise public awareness of issues associated with chronic pain. The ACPA encourages all of us to get involved by talking about pain and its ramifications with family and friends, healthcare providers, policymakers, and the media.

The goal is to spread the message that chronic pain is a national epidemic that too often leads to stigma, suspicion, isolation, financial hardship, lost academic and career opportunities, and a decreased quality of life. Too often, it can also lead to depression or even suicide.

Pain and depression are so intimately intertwined that it can be difficult to determine which is the cause and which is the effect. According to the Mayo Clinic, depression can often cause pain. In fact, backaches, stomachaches, headaches, and the like are sometimes the only manifestations of depression. But severe persistent chronic pain and its related hardships, including stress and the inability to sleep, also can cause depression.

It can be a vicious cycle. Pain can cause depression. Depression then increases the pain which causes even greater depression, and so on.

Unfortunately, people in pain are more likely than the general population to die by suicide. A Denmark study found that 6% of the people with chronic pain who were studied attempted suicide. That was 3.76 times the number of people that would have been expected to try to take their own lives in the general population.

People in pain can reach a point of hopelessness and mental fatigue that, too often, leaves suicide as the only means of escape.

It’s a cycle that has an impact on virtually every person: Danielle is more than just one of the suicide statistics to me. She was the daughter of my close friends, Dan and Diane.

Seeking hope

The New York Times recently reported suicide rates reached a 30-year high in the United States. Nearly every age group, race, and gender saw staggering increases. Although nearly 45,000 people are reported to take their lives annually in the U.S., no one knows the reasons for all of the suicides.

According to Martin D. Cheatle, Ph.D., writing for PubMed Central® (PMC), the suicide risk is so high for chronic pain patients that “it must be assumed that some proportion of those who die of drug [read: opioid] overdoses might have intended to end their lives, not just temporarily relieve their pain.” For some patients, the combination of access to opioids and unmanageable pain is unsustainable.