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Revising short-term suicide risks.

Revising short-term suicide risks

Mental health workers treating people with severe depression or manic depression consider three factors as key predictors of an impending suicide--hopelessness, thoughts of suicide and a history of suicide attempts. But much better and often ignored signs of immediate suicide risk exist, maintain investigators at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago.

Psychiatrist Jan Fawcett and his colleagues monitored 954 individuals taking part in a national study of depression and manic depression that began in 1978. Anxiety-related symptoms, such as panic attacks, exceesive worrying, severe insomnia and lack of concentration, were closely linked to the 13 suicides occurring within one year of their initial clinical interviews. Hopelessness, suicidal thoughts and prior suicide attempts were associated only with the 19 suicides that occurred more than one year after initial interviews.

Rapid treatment of anxiety symptoms may substantially decrease suicide rates among those suffering from depression and manic depression, the researchers conclude in the September AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PSYCHIATRY.
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Publication:Science News
Date:Sep 22, 1990
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