Suicide is a major killer — one that claims over 800,000 lives every year, and is a leading cause of death in young people. Isn't it time to start taking suicide and its underlying causes as seriously as we take heart disease and breast cancer?
A new study set out to achieve just that. Researchers from the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP), an independent scientific association dedicated to the science and treatment of disorders of the brain, not only pointed out that suicide prevention measures are desperately needed, they also identified suicide risk factors that healthcare professionals will be able to act on.
The BRIDGE-II-MIX study is a major international study that examined depression and suicide. Interviewing 2811 people diagnosed with depression, 628 of whom had previously attempted to take their own lives, the research team sought to determine the behavioral patterns and characteristics of those people who attempted suicide. They then compared this data with information gathered about depression people who had not tried to commit suicide.
Study author Dina Popovic told the press: "We found that 'depressive mixed states' often preceded suicide attempts. A depressive mixed state is where a patient is depressed, but also has symptoms of 'excitation', or mania." She added that "40 percent of all the depressed patients who attempted suicide had a 'mixed episode' rather than just depression" and that "all the patients who suffer from mixed depression are at much higher risk of suicide."
So, What Symptoms Incidicate That A Depressed Person Is At Risk Of Suicide?
The second phase of the study involved in-depth analysis of the data the team had gathered. Though this data, the research team reached the conclusion that depressed people at risk of suicide tend to display certain symptoms, which can be picked up by healthcare providers:
- Excessive risk-taking, like promiscuous behavior and reckless driving
- "Psychomotor agitation" — physical signs such as pacing around, pulling clothes off, and fidgeting