Suicidality in bipolar compared to unipolar depressed inpatients

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Abstract

The aim of the present analyses was to evaluate differences in suicidality (past suicide attempts, suicidal thoughts at time of admission and completed suicides during the hospital stay) between bipolar and unipolar depressed inpatients. Apart from a higher frequency of past suicide attempts in bipolar depressed patients (26.6% in bipolar vs. 17.8% in unipolar patients), findings do not indicate any further differences in suicidality (suicidal thoughts (about 40% in both groups) and completed suicides during the hospital stay (0.8% in both groups)) between bipolar and unipolar patients. Factors with a predictive value for suicidal thoughts at the time of admission were a positive family history for affective disorders, past suicide attempts, and the depressive and paranoid hallucinatory syndrome (all associated with an increased risk). Female gender, an older age at hospitalisation and a longer duration of the illness were found to be associated with a lower probability for having suicidal tendencies at the time of admission. The risk for committing suicide during the hospital stay was increased if the patients had a history of past suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts at the time of admission. A more pronounced depressive syndrome at time of admission was slightly associated with a lower risk of committing suicide.

Received: 25 April 2000 / Accepted: 28 June 2000