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Suicide in Depression

The best available evidence suggests that about 2% of people with a Depressive Disorder will die by suicide [ref].  It is difficult to predict who these individuals are or when a person will make an attempt, but there are several factors that increase a person's risk of attempting or completing suicide:

  • The person has attempted suicide in the past. Among people with Depression who have been hospitalized for a suicide attempt, over 8% will eventually die by suicide [ref].
  • A first degree relative (parent, sibling, offspring) of the person had attempted or committed suicide [ref].
  • Consuming alcohol or street drugs will increase the risk of suicide while the person is under the influence of these substances [ref].
  • A tendency to be a very impulsive or aggressive person [ref].
  • Intense feelings of hopelessness [ref].
  • Having been recently discharged from a hospitalization for a psychiatric disorder; the risk of suicide is highest in the first month after discharge, but remains high for a full year after hospitalization [ref].
  • According to US statistics, rates of completed suicide are highest in men, the eldery, and Whites, while the groups with the highest rates of suicide attempts are women and individuals ages 15-45, both White and Black [ref].
  • Being in a state of agitation during the Depressive Episode.
  • Having a serious medical illness [ref].
  • Having a concurrent Dissociative Disorder [ref].
  • Having a concurrent Anxiety Disorder [ref].

When a person is seriously considering suicide it is very important that they or their family or friends contact a physician immediately or that the person goes immediately to an emergency room. 


Predictors of Course

Associated Conditions