Recognition, care and prevention of suicidal behaviour in adults

Z. Ríhmer, Attila Németh, Tamás Kurimay, Dóra Perczel-Forintos, György Purebl, Péter Döme

Research output: Article

Abstract

Suicide is a major public health problem everywhere in the world and in the WHO European Region suicide accounts for over 120,000 deaths per year. 1. Recognition and diagnosis: An underlying psychiatric disorder is present in up to 90% of people who completed suicide. Comorbidity with depression, anxiety, substance abuse and personality disorders is high. In order to achieve successful prevention of suicidality, adequate diagnostic procedures and appropriate treatment for the underlying disorder are essential. 2. Treatment and care: Acute intervention should start immediately in order to keep the patient alive. Existing evidence supports the efficacy of pharmacological treatment and cognitive behavioural therapy (including dialectical behavior therapy and problem-solving therapy) in preventing suicidal behaviour. Some other psychological treatments are promising, but the supporting evidence is currently insufficient. Studies show that antidepressant and mood stabilizer treatments decrease the risk for suicidality among responders in mood disorder patients. However, the risk of suicidal behaviour in depressed patients treated with antidepressants exists during the first 10-14 days of treatment, which requires careful monitoring. Short-term supplementary medication with anxiolytics and hypnotics in the case of anxiety and insomnia is recommended. Treatment with antidepressants of children and adolescents should only be given under supervision of a specialist. Long-term treatment with lithium has been shown to be very effective in preventing both suicide and attempted suicide in patients with unipolar and bipolar depression. Treatment with clozapine is effective in reducing suicidal behaviour in patients with schizophrenia. Other atypical antipsychotics are promising but more evidence is required. 3. Family and social support: The suicidal person should always be motivated to involve family in the treatment. Psychosocial treatment and support is recommended, as the majority of suicidal patients have problems with relationships, work, school and lack functioning social networks. 4. SAFETY: A secure home, public and hospital environment, without access to suicidal means is a necessary strategy in suicide prevention. Each treatment option, prescription of medication and discharge of the patient from hospital should be carefully evaluated against the involved risks. 5. Education of treatment team: Training of general practitioners is effective in the prevention of suicide. It improves treatment of depression and anxiety, quality of the provided care and attitudes towards suicide. Continuous training including discussions about ethical and legal issues is necessary for psychiatrists and other mental health professionals. Multidisciplinary treatment teams including psychiatrist and other professionals such as psychologist, social worker, and occupational therapist are always preferable, as integration of pharmacological, psychological and social rehabilitation is recommended especially for patients with chronic suicidality. 6. Public aspects: Not only the health care workers are responsible for suicide prevention. All members of our society (including community/political leaders as well as religious and civil organizations) have their own task with more or less competence and responsibility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-40
Number of pages37
JournalPsychiatria Hungarica : A Magyar Pszichiatriai Tarsasag tudomanyos folyoirata
Volume32
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - jan. 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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