Suicide Risk Behavior Patterns In Depression Offer Some Clues For Prevention

September 3, 2015 | By Garrett Montgomery More

A new study revealed that certain behaviors could be linked to a higher suicide risk. According to the experts, depressed people who demonstrate certain behaviors such as reckless driving, sudden promiscuity, constant nervousness and agitation are considered more likely to try to kill themselves.

Suicide risk behavior

With at least one death by suicide in America every 13 minutes, a new study from Europe may help those with depressed people in their lives and caregivers see the warning signs and take action before it is too late.

A group of Spanish scientists may have found a pattern of risky behaviors in depressed people that lead to them taking their own lives. Data from SAVE and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that in 2013, 41,149 Americans battling some form of depression mainly in the age bracket of 15–24 years old died via suicide.

The organization says that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US. According to the 2013 statistics, on the negative side, only half of all Americans suffering from a major depression receive treatment and therapy, but on the positive note, over 80% of those who seek professional help are cured.

In the study, which was published on August 30th at the 28th European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Congress (ECNP) in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, it was proven that depressed people who demonstrate such risky behaviors including, reckless driving, pacing around the room, or unaware of the consequences of their actions have a 50% chance of attempting to end their own lives.

The study led by a psychiatrist, Dr. Dina Popovic from the Clinical Research Institute of Biomedical Research in Spain and Barcelona Hospital Clinic, focused on 2.811 people who suffered from depression to find suicide risk factors among them. The study zoomed in on 630 patients who had attempted suicide and quickly found patterns of behavior. Dr. Popovic explained:

“Assessing these symptoms in every depressed patient we see is extremely important, and has immense therapeutical implications.”

The expert went on to add that while she is thrilled to have been able to identify the risky behaviors, it is still difficult to come up with effective treatments. Popovic revealed:

“In our opinion, assessing these symptoms in every depressed patient we see is extremely important, and has enormous therapeutical implications. While many psychiatrists recognize that this constitutes an additional risk for suicide, and would welcome better scales for its identification, the question of treatment remains challenging”.

During the research process, the colleagues discovered what is known as “depressive mixed states,” which often occur prior to suicide attempts. More from the leader of the research team:

“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 percent of all the 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 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is open 24 hours, seven days a week, so please call1 (800) 273-8255 if you or someone you care about is in need of help.

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    1. Jimmy Ril says:

      I hope Barb sees this!

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