Lifetime psychiatric symptoms in persons with schizophrenia who died by suicide compared to other means of death.

Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD 21228, USA.
Journal of Psychiatric Research (Impact Factor: 4.09). 09/2004; 38(5):531-6. DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2004.02.001
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The focus of this report is to compare the psychiatric symptomatology of individuals with schizophrenia who have died by suicide to those who have died by other means of death. This study includes individuals with a diagnosis of schizophrenia whose families donated their brain tissue to the Maryland Brain Collection between September 1989 and August 1998. The psychological autopsy method was used to assess the deceased individual's demographic and clinical characteristics, psychiatric symptoms and history of suicidal thoughts and attempts. Ninety-seven individuals with schizophrenia were identified for this study. Fifteen had committed suicide, while the remaining 82 died from other causes. Thoughts of suicide and previous suicide attempts were more frequent among the group that died from suicide (93% compared to 26%) (p < 0.0001). Suicide victims had a higher rate of depressive symptoms and were twice as likely to have a depressed mood. The incidence of thoughts of dying was 60% compared to 20% in those who did not commit suicide (p = 0.002). Loss of interest was reported to occur in 20% in the suicide group compared to 4% in the group of individuals that died from other causes (p = 0.05). Victims of suicide also had higher rates of positive symptoms throughout their lifetime including thought control, flight of ideas, and loose associations. Suicide is one of the leading cause of premature death in individuals with schizophrenia and identification of risk factors is of great importance. Individuals who die by suicide experience higher rates of depressive symptoms, suicidal thoughts and positive symptoms during their life.

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