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Bipolar disorder and suicide: Research synthesis and clinical translation

Abstract

Attempted suicide and suicide are prevalent in individuals with bipolar disorder (BD). Extant evidence indicates that history of suicide attempts, percentage of time spent in a depressed state, and hostility are factors associated with suicide attempts and completed suicide. Childhood adversity (eg, sexual and physical abuse) is emerging as a risk factor for suicide attempts in adults with BD. The pertinacity of medical comorbidity (eg, obesity, metabolic syndrome) in the bipolar population is further underscored by its preliminary association with suicidality. Biomarkers such as cerebrospinal fluid monoamine metabolite levels may be predictive of suicide attempts and lethality in BD. Compelling evidence supports an antisuicide effect of long-term lithium prophylaxis; lithium’s salutary effect is mediated primarily by reduced lethality of suicidal acts. Conventional unimodal antidepressants may engender or exacerbate suicidality in susceptible individuals with BD. A nascent database suggests that adjunctive psychosocial interventions may further reduce suicide risk in bipolar individuals.

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Correspondence to Roger S. McIntyre.

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McIntyre, R.S., Muzina, D.J., Kemp, D.E. et al. Bipolar disorder and suicide: Research synthesis and clinical translation. Curr Psychiatry Rep 10, 66–72 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-008-0012-7

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Keywords

  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Suicidal Ideation
  • Suicide Attempt
  • Suicidal Behavior