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People with major depression may have higher suicide risk -- study

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  • Ian Pitchford
    Public release date: 1-Mar-2003 Contact: Amy Levey alevey@psych.org 703-907-8534 American Psychiatric Association http://www.psych.org/ People with major
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2003
      Public release date: 1-Mar-2003
      Contact: Amy Levey alevey@... 703-907-8534
      American Psychiatric Association
      http://www.psych.org/

      People with major depression may have higher suicide risk -- study

      Arlington, VA - People suffering from major depression and posttraumatic stress
      disorder (PTSD) are more likely to attempt suicide, and women with both
      disorders are more likely to have attempted suicide than men with both
      disorders, according to a new report in the March 2003 American Journal of
      Psychiatry, the monthly scientific journal of the American Psychiatric
      Association.

      Following a catastrophic trauma up to one-quarter of individuals develop PTSD,
      a psychiatric disorder that can occur when they experience or witness
      life-threatening events such as terrorist attacks, military combat, natural
      disasters, serious accidents or violent personal assaults. People who suffer
      from PTSD often relive the experience through nightmares and flashbacks, have
      difficulty sleeping, and may feel uncomfortable with activities they previously
      enjoyed.PTSD frequently occurs in conjunction with related mental disorders.

      The study, "Association of Comorbid Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Major
      Depression with Greater Risk for Suicidal Behavior," led by Maria A. Oquendo,
      M.D., Department of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia
      University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute, explored aggression,
      history of childhood abuse and personality disorders as risk factors for
      suicidal acts. One-third of people who report childhood abuse or neglect
      develop PTSD, and the presence of childhood abuse doubles the odds of
      developing major depression. In the group studied by Dr. Oquendo et al, 41%
      reported abuse during childhood, although not all of these patients developed
      PTSD.

      The study also found that women, who may be either exposed to more trauma
      and/or biologically vulnerable to developing PTSD after trauma may be at higher
      risk for PTSD. In fact, in this study, more women than men reported abuse in
      childhood and developed PTSD.

      While the data from the study "cannot elucidate the temporal relationship
      between onset of PTSD and suicidal behavior," it is important to note that the
      increased risk of suicide attempts in patients with PTSD and major depression
      underscores the need to assess depressed patients for PTSD, to determine
      accurate risk for suicide.

      "For clinicians caring for survivors of trauma, a focus on risk for suicidal
      acts is imperative to protect these individuals from further morbidity and
      mortality," said Dr. Oquendo.


      ###
      ["Association of Comorbid Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Major Depression
      with Greater Risk for Suicidal Behavior," by Maria A. Oquendo, M.D. et al, p.
      580, American Journal of Psychiatry, March 2003.]


      The American Psychiatric Association is a national medical specialty society,
      founded in 1844, whose 38,000 physician members specialize in the diagnosis,
      treatment and prevention of mental illnesses including substance use disorders.
      For more information, visit the American Psychiatric Association web site at
      www.psych.org.

      http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2003-03/apa-pwm022503.php
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