Sleep Disturbances and Suicidal Behavior in Patients With Major Depression

Background: The purpose of this study was to examine the association between sleep disturbances and suicidal behavior in patients with major depression (N=113).

Method: The sleep symptomatology of each patient was ascertained from the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia (SADS) questions concerning sleep in the section on major depression. The patients were retrospectively classified as having hypersomnia (N=20), insomnia (N=69), and no sleep disturbance (N=24). The SADS suicide subscale was used to rate the severity of active suicidality.

Results: The patients with hypersomnia and insomnia had significantly (p<.05) higher scores on the SADS suicide subscale than those without sleep disturbance. We also found that the patients with insomnia and hypersomnia were significantly (p<.001) more likely to become suicidal than the others.

Conclusion: These data demonstrate that both insomnia and hypersomnia are associated with suicidal behavior in patients with major depression.

J Clin Psychiatry 1997;58(6):249-251