In a recently published paper in General Hospital Psychiatry , we described the association between a diagnosis of a serious mental illness and a chronic pain condition. In a national sample of all patients who utilized services from the Veterans Health Administration within a given year, those individuals with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder were significantly more likely to have a chart diagnosis of chronic pain compared to those without these psychiatric diagnoses. We concluded that this line of research has important implications for understanding how chronic pain might impact mental health recovery.
In this issue of General Hospital Psychiatry, we continue with a new dimension that we have added to the journal ? point and counterpoint editorials on two topics: (1) prescription of marijuana for chronic benign pain, and (2) should a psychiatric consultation be required for all patients requesting physician assisted suicide? There are many controversial areas of clinical practice, and having experts with opposing views on the subject describe their perspectives in a scholarly way can enhance understanding of differing viewpoints.