Correlates of Suicidal Behavior and Lithium Treatment in Bipolar Disorder
J Clin Psychiatry 2004;65(suppl 10):5-10
© Copyright 2016 Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc.
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Individuals with bipolar and major depressive disorders have considerably higher suicide rates
than the general population. However, estimating the risk of suicide is complicated, and there exists a
general lack of consensus among researchers regarding whether suicide rates are higher in patients
with unipolar, bipolar I, or bipolar II depressive disorders. Isolating the specific factors that contribute
to the high risk of suicide in patients with affective disorders can be challenging as well; substance
and alcohol abuse, family history of suicide, differences in allele distributions, comorbid anxiety, depression
recurrence, seasonal effects, rapid cycling, and a history of hospitalizations for depression all
appear to contribute to the likelihood that these patients will engage in suicidal behavior. Research
does tend to agree that lithium is efficacious in decreasing suicidal behavior in patients with affective