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Commenting ECNP President, Professor Guy Goodwin (Oxford) said: The recognition of increased activation in the context of a severe depression is an important practical challenge. While many psychiatrists recognize that this constitutes an additional risk for suicide, and would welcome better scales for its identification, the question of treatment remains challenging. We need more research to guide us on best practice.

Suicide risk behaviour patterns identified study

Depressed people who display "risky behaviour", agitation and impulsivity are at least 50% more likely to attempt suicide, a study has found.

Research by the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) concluded that the behaviour patterns "precede many suicide attempts". BBC Health 30th August 2015

The study said effective prevention measures were "urgently needed".

The ECNP study evaluated 2,811 patients suffering from depression, of whom 628 had previously attempted suicide.

Researchers "looked especially at the characteristics and behaviours of those who had attempted suicide", and found that "certain patterns recur" before attempts.

They said the risk of an attempt was "at least 50% higher" if a depressed patient displayed:

  • "risky behaviour" such as reckless driving or promiscuous behaviour
  • "psychomotor agitation" such as pacing around rooms or wringing their hands
  • impulsivity - defined by the researchers as acting with "little or no forethought, reflection, or consideration of the consequences"

Dr Dina Popovic, one of the report's authors, added: "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."

 

New depression study will help spot suicide risk

The Independent on Sunday, 30/08/2015, p. 18, Charlie Cooper

Professor Guy Goodwin of the University of Oxford’s Department of Psychiatry comments on new research which identifies a pattern of behaviour that could alert doctors that a depressed patient may be about to attempt suicide.

‘Mixed depression,’ agitation may signal suicide risk

Fox News (US), 03/09/2015, via Reuters

Article on research into behaviour patterns that may precede suicide attempts by people with major depression includes comment from Guy Goodwin, a professor of psychiatry at University of Oxford.

Also:

‘Mixed depression,’ agitation may signal suicide risk

Channel NewsAsia, 03/09/2015, via Reuters