ABSTRACT: To present Erwin Ringel's theory of the presuicidal syndrome as an instrument for the assessment of suicidal risk.
The literature regarding the presuicidal syndrome was reviewed.
As it is evident from the research and works by Ringel, and also from the works by other classics of suicidological literature, such as Farberow, Poldinger, Schneidmann, Beck, and B6hme, the discovery of the presuicidal syndrome has opened up new vistas for the therapy of suicidal tendencies. The knowledge of the nature of the presuicidal syndrome indicates that a specific "anti-suicide" therapy has to be applied. The principal aims of such a therapy include the removal of the patient's feeling of alienation by the creation of a good doctor-patient relationship, the creation of the conditions enabling the patient to vent his/her aggression verbally, the removal of the presuicidal narrowing of the patient's consciousness by the reinforcement of the effective, positive behaviour, and the stimulation of the patient's imagination towards the formulation of new aims in life.
The concept of the presuicidal syndrome, although somewhat forgotten, still can enhance the understanding of the psychopathology of suicide, contribute to the effective identification of individuals endangered by the occurrence of suicidal tendencies, and contribute to the increase in the effectiveness of the therapy required. Finally, the present authors suggest that the presuicidal syndrome, as a special multifactor psychopathological phenomenon, should be recognized as a diagnostic unit, thus filling in the present gap in the classifications of mental illnesses.
Przegla̧d lekarski 02/2005; 62(6):399-402.