Patients Who Visit Healthcare Providers Often are Less Likely to Attempt Suicide, Study Indicates

Patients Who Visit Healthcare Providers Often are Less Likely to Attempt Suicide, Study Indicates
Fibromyalgia (FM) patients who spend more time in follow-up visits with their healthcare providers are less likely to attempt suicide or have suicidal thoughts, a large retrospective study suggests. The study also identified fatigue, dizziness, weakness, obesity, and drug dependence as risk factors that elevate suicidal tendencies in these patients. The report, “Outpatient Engagement Lowers Predicted Risk of Suicide Attempts in Fibromyalgia,” was published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research. Diseases associated with chronic pain raise the risk of suicide. This is particularly worrisome in the case of fibromyalgia, whose patients have about a 10 times higher risk of death from suicide than the general population, and about three times more at risk than other chronic pain patients. Few and conflicting data are available about which risk factors contribute to such high suicide tendencies. Moreover, the relative contribution of pain severity versus the presence of psychiatric disorders is still under debate. “Existing evidence notes general risk factors for suicide do not always translate to chronic pain populations, and that pain sub-populations may have different risk factors for suicidality and need to be studied separately to enhance prevention efforts,”  researchers stated in the study. The study’s goal was to validate how good a recently published machine learning model for predicting suicide attempt risk was at anticipating these tendencies, specifically in the context of fibromyalgia, and to identify factors that increase or reduce the risk of suicide among these patients. Researchers tested the performance of the predictive model using a large database of clinical electronic health records (EHR). Data was retrieved from
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