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Keywords:

  • bipolar I disorder;
  • bipolar II disorder;
  • suicide;
  • unipolar major depression

Rihmer Z, Kiss K. Bipolar disorders and suicidal behaviour. Bipolar Disord 2002: 4(Suppl. 1): 21–25. © Blackwell Munksgaard, 2002

Major depressive disorder is the leading cause of suicide, particularly in the absence of adequate treatment. The aim of this paper is to analyse the relationship between different forms of major mood disorders and suicidal behaviour. Population-based epidemiological surveys as well as clinical studies on the clinically explorable suicide risk factors in bipolar and unipolar depressive disorders are reviewed. The present literature shows that patients with bipolar disorders are at higher risk of attempted and completed suicide than that of patients with unipolar major depression. Contrasting only bipolar I and bipolar II patients, current findings indicate that the rate of prior suicide attempt is higher in bipolar II patients, and bipolar II disorder is overrepresented in depressed suicide victims. Among patients with different clinical manifestations of major mood disorders (unipolar major depression, bipolar I and bipolar II disorder), bipolar patients in general, and bipolar II subjects in particular carry the highest risk of suicide.