Chronic alcohol problems among suicide attempters - post-mortem findings of a 14-year follow-up

Department of Psychiatry, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Uusimaa, Finland
Nordic Journal of Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 1.5). 02/2005; 59(1):45-50. DOI: 10.1080/08039480510018823
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study set out to describe the clinical characteristics of a subgroup of suicide attempters with clear post-mortem evidence of long-term alcohol misuse, and to investigate the risk factors predicting chronic alcohol misuse/dependence using survival analysis. Data were collected over 14 years on all unselected deliberate self-poisoning patients (n=1018) treated in the emergency unit of Helsinki University Central Hospital. Of the 222 (22.7%) who had died by the end of the follow-up period, 85 (38.5%) showed clear post-mortem evidence of long-term alcohol misuse. Seventy-four per cent of misusers were men. The risk factors for chronic alcohol misuse/dependence among deceased suicide attempters were: male sex, numerous previous suicide attempts, non-impulsive suicide attempts, certain intention to die and subjective motive of the index attempt other than "wish to die". The findings emphasize that more attention should be focused on evaluating alcohol use and the risk of alcohol dependence in suicide attempters encountered in the emergency room of general hospitals.

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