Study Makes Sense Of Senseless Suicides



The World Health Organisation estimated that more than 800,000 people had committed suicides worldwide in 2012.  Paul Farmer, of mental health charity Mind, said annually 6,000 UK people take their own lives for reasons unknown.

Research by the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) concluded that the behaviour patterns “precede many suicide attempts”.  The ECNP study evaluated 2,811 patients suffering from depression, of whom 628 had previously attempted suicide.  Depressed people who display “risky behaviour”, agitation and impulsivity are at least 50% more likely to attempt suicide, the study has found. Effective prevention measures were “urgently needed”.

Researchers said the risk of an attempt was “at least 50% higher” if a depressed patient displayed apart from being very withdrawn or very anxious, the following symptoms:

  • “risky behaviour” such as reckless driving or promiscuous behaviour.
  • “psychomotor agitation” such as pacing around rooms or wringing their hands
  • impulsivity of acting with “little or no forethought, reflection, or
  •  consideration of the consequences”

Dr Dina Popovic  found that ‘depressive mixed states’ where a patient is depressed but also has symptoms of ‘excitation’, or mania, often preceded suicide attempts.  He said the ENCP research had found the indicators that people should look out for if they are worried about someone.  The study’s findings are being presented at the ENCP conference in Amsterdam on Sunday.

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