Lithium treatment and the risk of suicide in affective disorders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Despite suicidal behaviour being a very complex, multicausal phenomenon, untreated major affective (bipolar and unipolar) disorders are the most powerful predictors for it. As suicidal behaviour in people with mood disorders is a state-dependent phenomenon, long-term management is fundamental for suicide prevention. Naturalistic, retrospective and prospective follow-up studies, as well as randomised controlled trials, consistently show that long-term lithium treatment reduces the risk of completed and attempted suicide by approximately 80%, both in people with bipolar disorder and unipolar depression. The marked anti-suicidal potential of lithium seems to be more than the simple reflection of its phase-prophylactic effect, as a significant reduction in the number of suicide attempts was found not only in the excellent responders, but also in moderate responders and in non-responders. Current studies also show that the combination of lithium treatment with psychosocial interventions further improves the results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-51
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Psychiatric Review
Volume4
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - May 2011

Fingerprint

Mood Disorders
Bipolar Disorder
Lithium
Suicide
Attempted Suicide
Depressive Disorder
Randomized Controlled Trials

Keywords

  • Affective disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Lithium treatment
  • Suicide
  • Suicide attempt
  • Suicide prevention
  • Unipolar depression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

Cite this

Lithium treatment and the risk of suicide in affective disorders. / Ríhmer, Z.

In: European Psychiatric Review, Vol. 4, No. 1, 05.2011, p. 48-51.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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