Suicide Attempts in Bipolar Patients
J Clin Psychiatry 2001;62(12):963-966
© Copyright 2014 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
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Background: Between 25% to 50% of patients with bipolar disorder
make suicide attempts during their lives, but there are some controversies about
factors related to suicide attempts in this group of patients. The aim of this
study is to investigate the association between suicide attempts and the predictive
factors previously described in the literature.
Method: The sample included all 169 patients with DSM-III-R bipolar
I disorder identified in a delimited area (northern Spain). Sociodemographic,
clinical, and family history variables measured by Research Diagnostic Criteria-Family
History were analyzed. Significant variables were introduced in a logistic regression
analysis to control for the effects of other variables.
Results: There were 56 patients (33%) who had one or more suicide
attempts. Early age at onset, history of hospital admission during depressive
episodes, drug abuse, and family history were significantly associated with
suicide in the univariate analyses (p < .05). A much higher proportion of
patients with onset at or before 25 years of age than patients with onset after
25 years of age attempted suicide (23% vs. 10%). The age at onset was no longer
significant after controlling for the other 3 variables included in the logistic
Conclusion: Suicide attempts are highly prevalent in bipolar
patients and are related to drug abuse, family history of affective disorders,
and severe depressive episodes. This study suggests that the risk of suicide
in patients with an early age at onset could reflect other variables such as
drug abuse, a history of hospital admissions for depression, or family history.