Researchers believe that they have identified suicide risk behaviors that often precede suicide attempts and hope a new study could lead to improved clinical practices and care for those dealing with depression.
The findings of the study were released this week at the 28th European College Neuropsychopharmacology Congress in Amsterdam, according to Medical News Today.
The participants came from Bridge-II-MIX, an international study focused on depression and suicide. They were assessed by a psychiatrist using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the standard classification of mental disorders used by American mental health professionals.
According to a statement that accompanied the study
, some of the symptoms in depressed patients that researchers found to precede suicide attempts included risky behavior, like reckless driving and promiscuous behavior; psychomotor agitation, such as pacing around a room or pulling off clothing and putting it back; and impulsive actions, such as displaying behavior characterized by little or no forethought, reflection, or consideration of the consequences.
The multi-national study evaluated 2,811 patients suffering from depression and focused on characteristics and behaviors of those who attempted suicide as compared to those who had not, according to the statement.
"We found that 'depressive mixed states' often preceded suicide attempts," study author Dr. Dina Popovic said in the statement. "A depressive mixed state is where a patient is depressed, but also has symptoms of 'excitation,' or mania.
"We found this significantly more in patients who had previously attempted suicide, than those who had not. In fact 40 percent of all the depressed patients who attempted suicide had a 'mixed episode' rather than just depression. All the patients who suffer from mixed depression are at much higher risk of suicide," she continued.
Dr. Donald Malone, chair of psychiatry and psychology at the Cleveland Clinic, told Health Day News
that he agreed with the findings.
"It has long been known that those patients with depression who also experience anxiety and/or agitation are more likely to attempt or complete suicide," Malone said. "These symptoms can also be a clue that the underlying diagnosis is bipolar depression [manic depressive disorder]."
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