According to findings from a recent study, second suicide attempts are more likely to be successful in individuals where psychiatric disorders are present. Individuals with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or unipolar depression who had previously attempted suicide had the highest risk of completing suicide the second time. The risk was highest during the first year following hospitalization for a suicide attempt. In bipolar and unipolar disorder, 63.8% of men and 42.3% of women committed suicide the first year following an unsuccessful attempt. Researchers conducting the study, commenting, stated, “The present results suggest that attempted suicide in those with schizophrenia or bipolar and unipolar disorder is particularly worrying and underlines the need for more focused care during at least the first two years after a suicide attempt.” The following is an excerpt of an article from Medpage Today that takes a closer look at the study’s results:
So the investigators took a cohort of 39,685 patients ages 10 and older (53% female; mean age 38.4 for men and 37.0 for women) who were hospitalized for a suicide attempt in Sweden from 1973 through 1982 and followed them until 2003.
Most (68%) were not diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder at hospital discharge.
The rest were diagnosed with one of the following disorders: bipolar and unipolar disorder (1,043), other depressive disorder (5,082), schizophrenia (713), anxiety disorder (1,328), adjustment disorder or posttraumatic stress disorder (764), alcohol abuse or dependence (2,702), drug abuse or dependence (385), or personality disorder (664).
In all diagnostic categories, a high percentage of the suicides during follow-up (13.5% to 63.8% in men and 14.3% to 53.9% in women) occurred during the first year.
The proportion of suicides occurring in the first year was high in the group free from psychiatric disorders as well (45.1% for men and 39.6% in women), although the completed suicide rate was low (5.1% in men and 2.8% in women).
Over the entire follow-up period, patients with bipolar and unipolar disorder (HR for men 3.5, 95% CI 3.0 to 4.2; HR for women 2.5, 95% CI 2.1 to 3.0) and schizophrenia (HR for men 4.1, 95% CI 3.5 to 4.8; HR for women 3.5, 95% CI 2.8 to 4.4) had the highest risk of successfully committing suicide.
Among patients with schizophrenia, 4.6% of the suicides in men and 2.8% in women were attributed to the disorder.
For those with unipolar and bipolar disorder, the corresponding percentages were 4% and 4.1%, respectively.