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Keywords:

  • attempted suicide;
  • self-poisoning;
  • repeater;
  • suicide risk

Seventy-nine patients admitted to the Lund Intensive Care Unit after deliberate self-poisoning were investigated by a psychiatrist and a social worker by means of a semi structured interview. Suicide risk evaluation included statistical risk factors according to the SAD PERSONS Scale, severity of suicidal intent according to the Suicidal Intent Scale, and interviewer reaction according to Motto. Two-thirds of the patients were in treatment or had had counselling with a social worker. More than half of the sample were repeaters. Compared with nonrepeaters, repeaters were less often employed, lacked social support and more often had relational problems. The majority of the repeaters had ongoing treatment, mostly psychiatric treatment. Repeaters more often acted impulsively, and their suicidal intent tended to be less severe than those of nonrepeaters. Interviewers more often reacted with negative or neutral feelings towards repeaters. Our results indicate that those who repeat suicidal behaviour differ from nonrepeaters. Self-poisoners, and especially repeaters, often had ongoing or previous psychiatric treatment. For the repeater group it is important to consider their impulse dyscontrol and their hostile attitude when alternative treatment strategies are devised and evaluated.