• attempted suicide;
  • alcoholism;
  • aftercare;
  • treatment. compliance;
  • health care

The purpose of this study was to examine the clinical features of alcohol-dependent suicide attempters and the treatment they received before and after the index attempt. A total of 47 subjects with current DSM-III-R alcohol dependence were identified from a systematic sample of 114 suicide attempters in Helsinki. All of them were comprehensively interviewed after the attempt, and the treatment they had received was established from psychiatric and other health-care records and follow-up interviews. Most had a history of psychiatric (83%) or substance abuse (83%) treatment. During the final month before the attempt, half of the subjects (51 %)) had been treated by health care services; 11% had received disulfiram-treatment and 6% had received psychotherapy. Subjects complied with recommended aftercare more often when they had been actively referred. After 1 month, 64% were being treated by health care services. However, only 14% were receiving disulfiram-treatment and 9% were receiving psychotherapy. These findings suggest that the quality and activity of treatment offered to suicide attempters with alcohol dependence should be improved.