Suicide rate for people with schizophrenia spectrum disorders 170 times higher. Here’s why
The suicide rate for people with schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSD) is 170 times higher than the general population, according to a recent study.
The study was published in the journal Schizophrenia Research.
The study of 20-year of population data, which is believed to be the largest of its kind ever done, examined statistics on over 75,000 patients who received the first diagnosis of SSD. On average, each patient was followed for almost ten years.
The research found several key factors that were predictors of suicide, including the first five years of being diagnosed with SSD, evidence of mood disorder or hospitalisation prior to diagnosis and the diagnoses of SSD at later age.
“What this study teaches is us that although people with SSD are at higher risk for suicide, we can target those at the highest risk with changes in policy and treatment,” said lead author Dr Juveria Zaheer, Clinician Scientist at the CAMH Institute for Mental Health Policy Research.
“In the past clinicians have focused on treating the psychosis itself when it first appears,” said senior author Dr Paul Kurdyak, Director, Health Outcomes and Performance Evaluation, CAMH Institute for Mental Health Policy Research and Clinician Scientist at ICES.
“This study shows that treatment has to include suicide prevention safety planning as well from the very beginning,” added Kurdyak.
The authors suggest increasing the age limit for admission to first-episode psychosis programs (most are closed to people over 30) and increasing the length of clinical follow-up care after the first episode of psychosis.
“Now that we know what is happening, we need to better understand why. Our next step will be to study the lived experience of people with SSD who have had suicidal ideation,” said Dr Zaheer.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)
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