Depressed people who display risky behavior, agitation and impulsivity have 50% higher risk of attempting suicide, new study suggests
A new study finds the behavior pattern that can lead to the suicide attempts.
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In a major international study, researchers examined 2811 patients suffering from depression, of whom more than half already attempted suicide. Patients were asked various questions from psychiatrists regarding their suicide attempts, family history and medical treatments.
Researchers especially looked at the behavior of those patients who have attempted suicide and compared it with those who had not. They found, those who attempted suicide, displayed a certain kind of behavior.
“We found that “depressive mixed states” often preceded suicide attempts. A depressive mixed state is where a patient is depressed, but also has symptoms of “excitation” or “mania.” We found this significantly more in patients who had previously attempted suicide, than those who had not. In fact, 40% of all depressed patients who attempted suicide had a mixed episode rather than just depression. All the patients who suffer from mixed depression are at much higher risk of suicide.” The study reads.
Risky behavior such as reckless driving, agitation, pacing around the room, wringing one’s hands and impulsivity such as acting on a whim or behaving without adequate thought, are the symptoms associated with suicide attempts. The depressed patients who show any of those symptoms, their risk of attempting suicide is at least 50% higher, according to the study.
“In our opinion, assessing these symptoms in every depressed patient we see is extremely important, and has immense therapeutical implications,” said Dr. Dina Popovic, the author of the study and a psychiatrist at Barcelona Hospital Clinic, Spain.
“Most of these symptoms will not be spontaneously referred by the patient, the clinician needs to inquire directly, and many clinicians may not be aware of the importance of looking at these symptoms before deciding to treat depressed patients.”
Suicide is one of the main causes of deaths in young people. According to WHO, more than 800,000 people commit suicide every year. The study is aimed at finding suicide risk factors among depressed patients. So, the effective measures can be taken to prevent it.
“The strength of this study is that it’s not a clinical trial, with ideal patients – it’s a big study, from the real world.” Popovic wrotes.
The study will be presented at European College of Neuropsychopaharmacology (ECNP) conference held in Amsterdam.
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