Ilgen said it is not known whether there are unique warning signs of suicide for chronic pain patients. He urged family and friends of patients to keep a close eye out for standard warning signs, such as intense depression, expressions of hopelessness, statements about suicidal thoughts or plans, or any indication that the person is not oriented toward the future.
"My best recommendation is to encourage the patient to reach out for professional help," Ilgen said. "Ask about their suicidal thoughts. Don't just skirt the issue; directly ask."
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about suicide prevention.
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