People with severe mental illness 12 times more likely to commit suicide

Dec 06, 2010

People with psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, are 12 times more likely to commit suicide than average, according to research released today by King's Health Partners.

The research found that the rate of suicide was highest in the first year following diagnosis (12 times national average) and that high risk persisted – remaining four times greater than the general population ten years after diagnosis, a time when there may be less intense clinical monitoring of risk.

Neither the risk of suicide nor the long-term risk of suicide, as compared to the general population, have been studied and measured in this way before. And the findings show that doctors must always remain vigilant when assessing a patient's risk of suicide regardless of time since first diagnosis.

A key aim of the study was to challenge the widely held view that "10-15% of people suffering psychotic disorders are likely to commit suicide"¹. This study shows that these figures, largely derived from research in the 1970s, are misleading as they use crude measurement techniques² and do not accurately measure risk over a lifetime. Today's findings indicate a lower overall risk, but more persistent danger of suicide among this patient group over a lifetime.

Dr Rina Dutta, MRC Research Fellow and Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist, King's Health Partners, said: "It's well known that people who commit often suffer serious mental health problems, but it's surprising that the risk they face remains so high ten years or more after first diagnosis. Putting a figure on it like this helps doctors to understand the extent of risk some of their patients face."

The research studied a group of almost 3,000 patients in the UK (London, Nottingham and Dumfries and Galloway) who suffered their first psychotic illness between 1965 and 2004. The patients were traced after an average follow-up time of 11.5 years and their death certificates were analysed.

People with psychotic disorders experience disturbed thoughts, feelings, mood and behaviours. Psychotic conditions tend to strike when people are young and affect one in 50 of the UK population.

Explore further: Coping skills training in rheumaotoid arthritis research recognized by BSBS of MI

More information: Reassessing the Long-term Risk of Suicide after a First Episode of Psychosis is published in the US journal Archives of General Psychiatry on Monday 6 December 2010.

Related Stories

Suicide attempt method affects prognosis

Jul 07, 2010

The method used for a suicide attempt is highly significant for the risk of subsequent successful suicide, reveals a long-term study from Karolinska Institutet. The results may be of help in acute risk assessment following ...

Recommended for you

The new normal? Addressing gun violence in America

13 hours ago

Article Spotlight features summaries written in collaboration with authors of recently published articles by the Journals Program of the American Psychological Association. The articles are nominated by the editors as noteworthy ...

Demi Lovato gets vocal about mental illness

17 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Demi Lovato huddled in the back of her tour bus, eyes wet with tears as she watched a horde of fans streaming into the venue where she was about to play.

Acquiring 'perfect' pitch may be possible for some adults

17 hours ago

If you're a musician, this sounds too good to be true: University of Chicago psychologists have been able to train some adults to develop the prized musical ability of absolute pitch, and the training's effects ...

How men and women see each other when online dating

19 hours ago

In the world of online dating, nothing is as it seems. But that doesn't stop many of us from leaping to the wrong conclusions about people. A recent paper presented at the Annual Conference of the International ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

dirk_bruere
5 / 5 (1) Dec 06, 2010
"No shit Sherlock"
StarDust21
not rated yet Dec 06, 2010
"No shit Sherlock"

LOL, was gonna say

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.