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Conventional methods of screening for depression and risk of suicide are not sufficiently accurate in identifying this risk correctly.
A new large study, involving 2,811 patients found that along depression, patients need to be screened for mixed episodes of depression and risky behaviors in order to accurately spot the risk of suicide among those concerned.
The findings of the study were explained at the 28th European College of Neuropsychopharmacology Congress, taking place in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The study, led by doctor Dina Popovic of the Barcelona Hospital Clinic, as well as of the Clinical Research Institute of Biomedical Research, Spain involved 2,811 patients suffering from depression.
All patients were part of the internationally spanning study Bridge II Mix looking at suicide in connection with depression. After being assessed according to medical standards in place in the U.S. for depression, it was also found, adding new assessment parameters that 628 patients of those involved in the study had attempted suicide.
These parameters included the patients’ family history, clinical presentations, all treatment undertaken, both past and current, any suicide attempts, clinical risk factors such as bipolar disorder or other mental disorders, sociological and demographic data.
According to doctor Popovic:
“The strength of this study is that it’s not a clinical trial, with ideal patients – it’s a big study, from the real world”.
As such, the study looked at both patients who were depressed and had attempted suicide, and those who were depressed but were still a step behind suicide. According to the findings, depressive mixed states will often indicate a higher risk of suicide attempts.
These states refer to the patient presenting, alongside the depression diagnosis, risky behavior of any kind, or agitation, usually referring to pacing around a given space, wringing their hands, nervously walking or other similar actions and impulsivity.
Doctor Popovic stated that for depressed patients who were also found to present these mixed depressive states, risk of suicide increased by 50 percent. 40 percent of the patients diagnosed with depression and who had attempted suicide had also presented a mixed depressive episode as the ones described above.
The study underlines the need to review standard methods of diagnosing depression and risk of suicide. While standard parameters accurately identified 12 percent of the patients with mixed depressive episodes, the newly proposed ones identified 40 percent, reducing the risk of suicide attempts.
In the U.S., suicide is the 10th cause of death, according to statistics from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, with men being four times more likely to attempt suicide than women.
Photo Credits: pixabay.com
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