Aim: To assess the prevalence of suicidal behavior (wish to die, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts) and to determine the characteristics of suicide attempters in primary care, including screening for major mental disorders. Method: A Hungarian urban general practitioner's district with 1248 inhabitants was screened for suicidal behavior as well as for major mental disorders. All the patients (n=382) who visited their general practitioner within a two-week period were asked to participate. 277 patients completed the Prime-MD questionnaire, an easy-to-use diagnostic instrument developed for general practitioners to recognize the most common psychiatric disorders, like depressive (major depressive disorder, minor depressive disorder), anxiety (panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder), somatoform, eating and alcohol related disorders. Detailed data about suicidal thoughts and attempts were also collected by the structured questions of MINI-Plus diagnostic interview. Results: Prevalence of suicide attempts in primary care was 2.9%. 9% of the patients had either suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts in the previous month. Suicidal patients were more ready to use psychotropic drugs, they assessed their health status more poorly, and had more mental symptoms than the control group (non-suicidal patients). 60% of suicidal patients and 11.5% of the investigated population had a current depressive episode. Beside depressive symptoms, anxiety disorders and alcohol problems were also more common among suicidal patients. The rate of previous psychiatric treatments was also higher in suicidal patients, who generally visited their general practitioners less frequently than non-suicidal patients. According to multivariate logistic regression, suicidal patients are more ready to take antidepressants, they tend to have more previous psychiatric treatments and suicidal attempts, and they visit their general practitioners less frequently and have a current depressive episode. Conclusion: Suicidal behavior and mental are frequent in primary care. Since almost every tenth patient visiting their general practitioner has suicidal thoughts or depressive or anxiety disorder, the recognition of suicide risk and mental disorders is very important in primary care. As for preventing suicides, the diagnosing and treating of mental disorders -especially affective disorders- are very important for general practitioners. In addition to pharmacotherapy, psychotherapies are also important in treating patients in crisis situations, or with suicidal thoughts or depressive disorder. The modified Prime-MD questionnaire can be an effective, easy-to-use method in the hand of the general practitioners to identify suicidal risk and to recognize the most common mental disorders in the average population.
|Number of pages||6|
|Publication status||Published - Feb 12 2006|
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