SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • attempted suicide;
  • self-poisoning;
  • repeater;
  • longitudinal study

Since 1986 psychiatrists and social workers of the Lund Suicide Research Center have investigated subjects admitted to the medical intensive care unit after a suicide attempt. Fifty-nine of 79 deliberate self-poisoners were interviewed 12 months after a suicide attempt. Twenty-one had previously been interviewed 6 months after the index suicide attempt. We obtained minor information on 8 subjects. Two patients had committed suicide. Sixteen subjects (27%) of those who were interviewed showed repeated suicidal behavior (repeaters) during the 1-year follow-up, and their psychiatric diagnoses at the index attempt were most commonly alcohol abuse and dysthymia (DSM-III, Axis I). Compared with nonrepeaters, repeaters had more often made previous suicide attempts, their index attempt was less serious and they were more often in psychiatric treatment at index. At follow-up, repeaters more often than nonrepeaters expressed the need for professional mental health support. Two-thirds of the patients were in treatment at follow-up. About half had remained in continuous treatment and most in psychiatric care for more than 1 year. Repeated self-poisoning occurred despite ongoing treatment. In view of the fact that numerous suicide attempters obviously remain in treatment for several years, we suggest further development and evaluation of long-term treatment strategies.