WHY ARE FEMALE VETERAN SUICIDE RATES TWICE THE RATE FOR MEN? A national veterans suicide study released by the VA in September revealed this. It has largely been overlooked because relative few women serve in the military, and so, although their suicide rates are much higher, the absolute numbers are lower than for men. I think it is because of Military Sexual Trauma, and here is why I think that.



Clinical Pain Advisor

Predicting Suicidal Ideation in Veterans With Chronic Pain

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All participants had chronic back pain for ≥7 months before enrollment, with 94.5% reporting chronic pain for >12 months. All participants had chronic back pain for ≥7 months before enrollment, with 94.5% reporting chronic pain for >12 months.

A number of factors, including chronic pain co-occurring with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and pain interference, may predict suicidal ideation and violent impulses in US veterans with chronic pain, according to a study published in the Journal of Pain.

For this study, data on pain variables, traumatic brain injury (TBI), clinical diagnoses, drug abuse and suicidal ideation were collected through self-reports of 667 US veterans, National Guard and Reserve members, and active-duty personnel with chronic pain who had served in these organizations since September 11, 2001.

All participants had chronic back pain for ≥7 months before enrollment, with 94.5% reporting chronic pain for >12 months. Pain intensity and pain interference were assessed with the Brief Pain Inventory-Short Version.

Presence of PTSD and major depressive disorder (MDD) was evaluated using the Structured Clinical Interview for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fourth Edition, and alcohol and drug abuse were assessed with the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test and Drug Abuse Screening Test, respectively. A score ≥3 on the 19-item Beck Scale for Suicidal Ideation (BSS) or a score >0 on the suicidal ideation item of the Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) indicated the presence of suicidal impulses.

Suicidal ideation (n=62 using both scales; n=25 with the BSS but not with the BDI; n=40 with the BDI-II but not with the BSS) was found to be associated with chronic pain plus PTSD, alcohol/drug abuse, pain interference and intensity, and MDD symptoms (P <.01 for all), and violent impulses, with the same factors, with the exception of drug abuse (P <.01 for all). In addition, younger participants were more likely report violent ideation than older participants (P <.05).

Logistic regression analyses indicated that white race and pain interference were predictors of suicidal ideation in veterans with chronic pain (P <.01 and P <.001, respectively). The addition of polytrauma variables led to the identification of other predictors of risk for suicide: chronic pain with PTSD (P <.001) and TBI plus PTSD (P <.01). The addition of other clinical variables led to pain interference and co-occurring chronic pain/TBI/PTSD (the “polytrauma clinical triad”) no longer being associated with suicide ideation.

Both younger age and pain interference (P =.01 and P <.001, respectively) were found to be associated with violent impulses. Younger age (P =.02), pain interference (P <.001), and PTSD with TBI (P <.001) were also associated with violent impulses in this sample when adding polytrauma variables, and MDD (P <.01) and drug abuse (P =.02) were associated with higher violent impulses after the addition of other diagnostic variables.

The inability to draw causal links between the studied variables and suicide/violent ideation risks represents a study limitation.

“Our findings underscore the need for interdisciplinary and/or coordinated care for veterans presenting with chronic pain or some combination of chronic pain, TBI, and PTSD to ensure that important suicide and violence risk factors are not overlooked by a patient’s treatment team,” concluded the study authors.

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Blakey SM, Wagner HR, Naylor J, et al. Chronic pain, TBI, and PTSD in military veterans: A link to suicidal ideation and violent impulses? [published in March 8, 2018]. J Pain. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2018.02.012



This link has very detailed information on the Veteran suicide rate for Iowa for 2014. There appears to be nothing more recent.

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