September 9, 2015Blog
September Suicide Prevention Awareness
Recent research reminds us of the importance of vigilance and knowing the signs for suicide prevention. What specific behaviors or moods do we look for IF we wish to help a loved one avoid suicide? Are there specific patterns of behavior that indicate a suicide attempt may be imminent?
I found the following article helpful and informative about what precedes suicide attempts. Please notice these thought-provoking excerpts:
“We found that ‘depressive mixed states’ often preceded suicide attempts,” said Dr. Dina Popovic of the Hospital Clinic De Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain. “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.”
[…]researchers found that the risk of attempting suicide is 50 percent higher if a depressed patient presents any of the following symptoms:
- Risky behavior (e.g. reckless driving, promiscuous behavior);
- Psychomotor agitation (pacing around a room, wringing one’s hands, pulling off clothing, and putting it back on and other similar actions); or
- Impulsivity (acting on a whim, displaying behavior characterized by little or no forethought, reflection, or consideration of the consequences).
“In our opinion, assessing these symptoms in every depressed patient we see is extremely important, and has immense therapeutical implications,” Popovic said.
“Most of these symptoms will not be spontaneously referred by the patient. The clinician needs to inquire directly, and many clinicians may not be aware of the importance of looking at these symptoms before deciding to treat depressed patients.” (article reference: New Research Identifies Behavior Patterns That Precede Suicide Attempts by Janice Wood)
Hopefully this research will help save lives. When all of us know what precedes suicide attempts, we can better be there for our loved ones who may be suffering from depression or a mixed state state.