10/1/2015 10:52:55 AM
|written By : Staff Reporter|
Psychiatrists have identified a clear pattern of behaviour that could alert doctors that a depressed patient may be about to attempt suicide.
In a major international study, researchers established that “depressive mixed states” – characterised by depression mixed with agitated, impulsive or risky behaviour – were observed in 40 per cent of patients who went on to attempt suicide.
The research, which involved clinical evaluations of more than 2,800 patients with depression, found that with those who displayed behavioural symptoms such as risky driving or promiscuity, pacing, hand-wringing or decision-making on a whim, “their risk of attempting suicide is at least 50 per cent higher”.
The findings, collated by researchers in Spain, France, Switzerland, Russia, Italy, the United States and the UK, was presented at the conference of the European College of Neuropscyhopharmacology (ECNP) in Amsterdam.
The author of the study, Dr Dina Popovic, a psychiatrist and clinical researcher at the University of Barcelona, said that a depressive mixed state occurred when a patient was depressed “but also has symptoms of ‘excitation’ or mania”.
“In fact 40 per cent of all depressed patients who attempted suicide had a ‘mixed episode’ rather than just depression. All who suffer from mixed depression are at much higher risk of suicide,” she said. “We found this significantly more in patients who had previously attempted suicide than those who had not.”