Depressed people with risky behaviors are 50 per cent more likely to try committing suicide, a new study shows. Global rates of suicides are increasing. Through the research, psychiatrists established a pattern of risky habits indicating a high likelihood of a depressed person attempting suicide.
Research conducted by the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ENCP) surveyed 2,811 patients previously diagnosed with depression, of whom 628 had attempted suicide. The researcher examined the medical records, family, previous suicide attempts and the patients’ scores on the Global Assessment of Functioning scale.
What researchers were focusing on were the patterns in habits that led to a suicide attempt. Researchers said that from looking at the results, “certain patterns recur” just before suicide attempts.”
Researchers indicated suicide was 50 per cent more likely if depressed patients expressed: “risky behavior” like reckless driving and promiscuity, “psychomotor agitation” such as pacing about rooms and “impulsivity” defined as doing things with “little or no forethought, reflection, or consideration of the consequences.”
Dr. Dina Popovic, lead author of the study said, “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.”
The research also indicated that the traditional standard mental health criteria dictated by DSM did not necessarily lead to a comprehensive diagnosis on likelihood of suicide.
Popovic said, “The standard DSM criteria identified 12 percent of patients at showing mixed states, whereas our methods showed 40 percent of at-risk patients. This means that the standard methods are missing a lot of patients at risk of suicide.”
The report goes on to warn that should a depressed person display any of these habits, their guardians or care takers should immediately remove them from their means of suicide like guns, pills or rope and immediately offer strong social community.
According to Popovic, “This is an important message for all clinicians, from the GPs who see depressed patients and may not pay enough attention to these symptoms, which are not always reported spontaneously by the patients. 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.”
World Health Organization estimates that 800,000 suicides occurred globally in 2012. To save more people from taking their own lives, it is important that proper measures are taken to monitor the depressed. Immediately the aforementioned habits are spotted, response should be adequate and assuring.