Thursday, October 29, 2009

Suicide risk among elderly varies according to sex

My comment: Do people really bother if oldies commit suicide? They
would be welcome and perhaps assisted to succeed though covertly.

Suicide risk among elderly varies according to sex
2009-09-29 16:10:00

Elderly men and women show different patterns of suicide, reveals a study.

Louise Bradvik and Mats Berglund, from Lund University, Sweden, say
that women who have tried to kill themselves several times in the past
should be kept under suicide watch, as they have an increased risk of
death in a future attempt.

For men, say the researchers, this increased risk reflects the
severity of their previous attempts.

They came to the above conclusion after examining suicide attempts in
100 patients who committed suicide and in an age- and sex-matched
control group, investigating the effects of age on suicidal behaviour,
as a risk factor for accomplished suicide.

They studied the hospital records of patients admitted between 1956
and 1969 and followed up until 2006.

"Men and women showed different patterns of suicide attempts in the
older age groups. The risk for an initial suicide attempt reduced with
age in all females and in male controls, but not in male victims,
repetition and severity then showing a special pattern," said Bradvik.

"Suicide attempt is known to be one of the main predictors for suicide
in depression. If attempts are repeated or serious, the risk for
suicide is considered to be increased. However, to our knowledge,
there has been no investigation into the predictive value of age at
repeated and severe suicide attempt for accomplished suicide. In our
study it appears that from middle age onwards, repeated attempts are a
risk factor for suicide in women and so are severe attempts for men,"
said Bradvik.

"In other words, though all suicide attempts should be taken
seriously, an older woman who makes a repeated attempt is at higher
risk for suicide and needs more observation and treatment than a young
female repeater. Correspondingly, an older man who makes a severe
attempt (or an initial attempt) is in need of more observation," he

The study focussed on patients with severe depression (with psychotic
and melancholic features) only.

It is unknown if the findings are applicable for other depressives.

The study has been published in the open access journal BMC Psychiatry. (ANI)

Dr P Vyasamoorthy,
30 Gruhalakshmi Colony Secunderabad 500015 Ph 040-27846631 / 9490804278

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