bipolar disorder and suicide


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(Updated 1/12/04)

Muller-Oerlinghausen B, Berghofer A, Bauer M.
Bipolar disorder.
Lancet 2002 Jan 19;359(9302):241-7
"Bipolar, or manic-depressive, disorder is a frequent, severe, mostly recurrent mood disorder associated with great morbidity. The lifetime prevalence of bipolar disorder is 1.3 to 1.6%. The mortality rate of the disease is two to three times higher than that of the general population. About 10-20% of individuals with bipolar disorder take their own life, and nearly one third of patients admit to at least one suicide attempt. The clinical manifestations of the disease are exceptionally diverse. They range from mild hypomania or mild depression to severe forms of mania or depression accompanied by profound psychosis. Bipolar disorder is equally prevalent across sexes, with the exception of rapid cycling, a severe and difficult to treat variant of the disorder, which arises mostly in women. Because of the high risk of recurrence and suicide, long-term prophylactic pharmacological treatment is indicated." [Abstract]

Rihmer Z, Kiss K.
Bipolar disorders and suicidal behaviour.
Bipolar Disord. 2002;4 Suppl 1:21-5.
"Major depressive disorder is the leading cause of suicide, particularly in the absence of adequate treatment. The aim of this paper is to analyse the relationship between different forms of major mood disorders and suicidal behaviour. Population-based epidemiological surveys as well as clinical studies on the clinically explorable suicide risk factors in bipolar and unipolar depressive disorders are reviewed. The present literature shows that patients with bipolar disorders are at higher risk of attempted and completed suicide than that of patients with unipolar major depression. Contrasting only bipolar I and bipolar II patients, current findings indicate that the rate of prior suicide attempt is higher in bipolar II patients, and bipolar II disorder is overrepresented in depressed suicide victims. Among patients with different clinical manifestations of major mood disorders (unipolar major depression. bipolar I and bipolar II disorder), bipolar patients in general, and bipolar II subjects in particular carry the highest risk of suicide." [Abstract]

Rihmer Z, Pestality P.
Bipolar II disorder and suicidal behavior.
Psychiatr Clin North Am 1999 Sep;22(3):667-73, ix-x
"Despite the fact that the nosologic position of bipolar II disorder continues to be debated, several lines of research indicate that it is a distinct nosologic category that should be separated from both bipolar I and unipolar major depression. This review of the authors' and others' work demonstrates that the lifetime risk of suicide attempts is highest in bipolar II and lowest in unipolar patients, whereas risk is intermediate in bipolar I patients. Moreover, two reports show that bipolar II patients are over represented among suicide victims. Clinicians must take great care in not missing this diagnosis, which, when untreated, has ominous prognostic implications." [Abstract]

Oquendo MA, Mann JJ.
Identifying and managing suicide risk in bipolar patients.
J Clin Psychiatry 2001;62 Suppl 25:31-4
"Bipolar patients have been shown to be at high risk for suicidal behavior. Therefore, identifying potentially suicidal patients is necessary in the treatment of bipolar patients. A stress-diathesis model for suicidal behavior has been proposed to assist clinicians in determining which patients are at risk. In the model, suicidal behavior is the result of the interaction between an individual's threshold for suicidal acts and the stressors that can lead to suicidal behavior. Suicide risk factors can then be categorized as either diathesis-related or stress-related. In a study applying the model of suicidal behavior to bipolar disorder, bipolar patients who attempted suicide had higher levels of suicidal ideation, lifetime aggression, and substance abuse than the comparison group of nonattempters. Attempters had twice the number of major depressive episodes. Once high-risk patients are identified, their suicide risk can be managed through treatments such as prophylactic lithium treatment and other pharmacologic approaches." [Abstract]

Dalton EJ, Cate-Carter TD, Mundo E, Parikh SV, Kennedy JL.
Suicide risk in bipolar patients: the role of co-morbid substance use disorders.
Bipolar Disord. 2003 Feb;5(1):58-61.
"OBJECTIVE: Bipolar disorder is associated with a high frequency of both completed suicides and suicide attempts. The primary aim of this study was to identify clinical predictors of suicide attempts in subjects with bipolar disorder. METHODS: We studied 336 subjects with a diagnosis of bipolar I, bipolar II, or schizoaffective disorder (bipolar type). The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID-I) was administered and subsequently two expert psychiatrists established a diagnosis. Predictors of suicide attempts were examined in attempters and non-attempters. RESULTS: The lifetime rate of suicide attempts for the entire sample was 25.6%. A lifetime co-morbid substance use disorder was a significant predictor of suicide attempts: bipolar subjects with co-morbid substance use disorders (SUD) had a 39.5% lifetime rate of attempted suicide, while those without had a 23.8% rate (odds ratio = 2.09, 95% CI = 1.03-4.21, chi2 = 4.33, df = 1, p = 0.037). CONCLUSIONS: Lifetime co-morbid SUD were associated with a higher rate of suicide attempts in patients with bipolar disorder. This relationship may have a genetic origin and/or be explained by severity of illness and trait impulsivity." [Abstract]

Daskalopoulou EG, Dikeos DG, Papadimitriou GN, Souery D, Blairy S, Massat I, Mendlewicz J, Stefanis CN.
Self-esteem, social adjustment and suicidality in affective disorders.
Eur Psychiatry. 2002 Sep;17(5):265-71.
"Self-esteem (SE) and social adjustment (SA) are often impaired during the course of affective disorders; this impairment is associated with suicidal behaviour. The aim of the present study was to investigate SE and SA in unipolar or bipolar patients in relation to demographic and clinical characteristics, especially the presence of suicidality (ideation and/or attempt). Forty-four patients, 28 bipolar and 16 unipolar, in remission for at least 3 months, and 50 healthy individuals were examined through a structured clinical interview. SE and SA were assessed by the Rosenberg self-esteem scale and the social adjustment scale, respectively. The results have shown that bipolar patients did not differ from controls in terms of SE, while unipolar patients had lower SE than bipolars and controls. No significant differences in the mean SA scores were found between the three groups. Suicidality during depression was associated only in bipolar patients with lower SE at remission; similar but not as pronounced was the association of suicidality with SA. It is concluded that low SE lasting into remission seems to be related to the expression of suicidality during depressive episodes of bipolar patients, while no similar pattern is evident in unipolar patients." [Abstract]

Simpson SG, Jamison KR.
The risk of suicide in patients with bipolar disorders.
J Clin Psychiatry 1999;60 Suppl 2:53-6; discussion 75-6, 113-6
"Patients with bipolar disorder have a high risk of committing suicide, but determining the exact risk is complicated. For many years, the lifetime suicide risk in bipolar disorder was accepted as 15%, but recent researchers have suggested that the lifetime suicide risk may be lower. The group of bipolar patients at highest risk of suicide are young men who are in an early phase of the illness, especially those who have made a previous suicide attempt, those abusing alcohol, and those recently discharged from the hospital. The risk is also increased in patients who are in the depressed phase of bipolar illness, who have mixed states, or who have psychotic mania." [Abstract]

Vieta E, Colom F, Gasto C, Nieto E, Benabarre A, Otero A.
[Bipolar II disorder: course and suicidal behavior]
Actas Luso Esp Neurol Psiquiatr Cienc Afines 1997 May-Jun;25(3):147-51
"INTRODUCTION: Bipolar II disorder seems to be more than a mild form of classic manic-depressive illness. Differences with bipolar I concern genetic, biological, clinical and pharmacological aspects. Nevertheless, studies on suicidal behavior in both groups have resulted in inconsistent results PATIENTS AND METHOD: Twenty-two patients fulfilling Research Diagnostic Criteria for the diagnosis of bipolar II disorder and 38 bipolar I were evaluated with the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia by two independent interviewers, and compared. RESULTS: Bipolar II patients had significantly more previous episodes (p = 0.001), including both depressive (p = 0.003) and hypomanic switches (p = 0.006), but had been hospitalized (p = 0.001) and presented psychotic symptoms (p < 0.001) less frequently. CONCLUSIONS: There were no significant differences between both groups regarding suicidal behavior variables. These results suggest that bipolar II disorder is less severe than bipolar I regarding symptoms intensity, but more severe with respect to episodes frequency, and that suicide attempts rates are not useful to discriminate between both groups." [Abstract]

Leverich GS, Altshuler LL, Frye MA, Suppes T, Keck PE Jr, McElroy SL, Denicoff KD, Obrocea G, Nolen WA, Kupka R, Walden J, Grunze H, Perez S, Luckenbaugh DA, Post RM.
Factors associated with suicide attempts in 648 patients with bipolar disorder in the Stanley Foundation Bipolar Network.
J Clin Psychiatry. 2003 May;64(5):506-15.
"BACKGROUND: Clinical factors related to suicide and suicide attempts have been studied much more extensively in unipolar depression compared with bipolar disorder. We investigated demographic and course-of-illness variables to better understand the incidence and potential clinical correlates of serious suicide attempts in 648 outpatients with bipolar disorder. METHOD: Patients with bipolar I or II disorder (DSM-IV criteria) diagnosed with structured interviews were evaluated using self-rated and clinician-rated questionnaires to assess incidence and correlates of serious suicide attempts prior to study entry. Clinician prospective ratings of illness severity were compared for patients with and without a history of suicide attempt. RESULTS: The 34% of patients with a history of suicide attempts, compared with those without such a history, had a greater positive family history of drug abuse and suicide (or attempts); a greater personal history of early traumatic stressors and more stressors both at illness onset and for the most recent episode; more hospitalizations for depression; a course of increasing severity of mania; more Axis I, II, and III comorbidities; and more time ill on prospective follow-up. In a hierarchical logistic regression, a history of sexual abuse, lack of confidant prior to illness onset, more prior hospitalizations for depression, suicidal thoughts when depressed, and cluster B personality disorder remained significantly associated with a serious suicide attempt. CONCLUSION: Our retrospective findings, supplemented by prospective follow-up, indicate that a history of suicide attempts is associated with a more difficult course of bipolar disorder and the occurrence of more psychosocial stressors at many different time domains. Greater attention to recognizing those at highest risk for suicide attempts and therapeutic efforts aimed at some of the correlates identified here could have an impact on bipolar illness-related morbidity and mortality." [Abstract]

Oquendo MA, Waternaux C, Brodsky B, Parsons B, Haas GL, Malone KM, Mann JJ.
Suicidal behavior in bipolar mood disorder: clinical characteristics of attempters and nonattempters.
J Affect Disord 2000 Aug;59(2):107-17
"OBJECTIVE: Bipolar Disorder is associated with a higher frequency of attempted suicide than most other psychiatric disorders. The reasons are unknown. This study compared bipolar subjects with a history of a suicide attempt to those without such a history, assessing suicidal behavior qualitatively and quantitatively, and examining possible demographic, psychopathologic and familial risk factors. METHODS: Patients (ages 18 to 75) with a DSM III-R Bipolar Disorder (n = 44) diagnosis determined by a structured interview for Axis I disorders were enrolled. Acute psychopathology, hopelessness, protective factors, and traits of aggression and impulsivity were measured. The number, method and degree of medical damage was assessed for suicide attempts, life-time. RESULTS: Bipolar suicide attempters had more life-time episodes of major depression, and twice as many were in a current depressive or mixed episode, compared to bipolar nonattempters. Attempters reported more suicidal ideation immediately prior to admission, and fewer reasons for living even when the most recent suicide attempt preceded the index hospitalization by more than six months. Attempters had more lifetime aggression and were more likely to be male. However, attempters did not differ from nonattempters on lifetime impulsivity. LIMITATIONS: The generalizability of the results is limited because this is a study of inpatients with a history of suicide attempts. Patients with Bipolar I and NOS Disorders were pooled and a larger sample is needed to look at differences. We could not assess psychopathology immediately prior to the suicide attempt because, only half of the suicide attempters had made attempts in the six months prior to admission. Patients with current comorbid substance abuse were excluded. No suicide completers were studied. CONCLUSIONS: Bipolar subjects with a history of suicide attempt experience more episodes of depression, and react to them by having severe suicidal ideation. Their diathesis for acting on feelings of anger or suicidal ideation is suggested by a higher level of lifetime aggression and a pattern of repeated suicide attempts." [Abstract]

Michaelis BH, Goldberg JF, Singer TM, Garno JL, Ernst CL, Davis GP.
Characteristics of first suicide attempts in single versus multiple suicide attempters with bipolar disorder.
Compr Psychiatry. 2003 Jan-Feb;44(1):15-20.
"Although suicidality remains highly prevalent among patients with bipolar disorder, little research exists examining the characteristics of successive attempts among individuals who make and survive a first suicide attempt. We compared bipolar subjects with a history of one suicide attempt to those with multiple attempts and assessed demographic characteristics, family histories, psychopathology, and clinical dimensions of suicidal behavior. Fifty-two DSM-IV bipolar patients (age 21 to 74 years) with a history of at least one suicide attempt were consecutively evaluated in the Bipolar Disorders Research Clinic of the New York Presbyterian Hospital. Circumstances surrounding each lifetime suicide attempt were assessed by direct interviews, questionnaires, and chart reviews along with family psychiatric histories, substance abuse histories, current psychopathology, and features of impulsivity and aggression. Multiple suicide attempts occurred in approximately two thirds of the study group. Single attempters were significantly more likely than multiple attempters to show high seriousness of intent at their first attempt (OR = 0.65, 95% CI = 0.43 to 0.99), and tended to be less likely than multiple attempters to exhibit mixed states at their first attempt (OR = 0.54, 95% CI = 0.28 to 1.01). Seriousness of intent was consistent across the first and second attempts (r =.48, P <.01) and second and third attempts (r =.74, P <.05). Single and multiple attempters differed in no other clinical or demographic characteristics studied. We conclude that multiple suicide attempts are common among bipolar patients. Those who survive an initial suicide attempt involving high seriousness of intent appear less likely than those with low intent to make subsequent attempts. Consequently, single attempters may represent a group more closely resembling those who complete suicide on a first attempt, in terms of the risk for death associated with their first attempt. However, multiple suicide attempts among bipolar patients are not necessarily associated with a higher risk for lethality in first suicide attempt survivors." [Abstract]

Shyovitz M.
A family member's legal experience with an insurer's refusal to recertify inpatient mental health treatment.
J Clin Psychiatry 2001;62 Suppl 25:44-50
"My son Nathaniel has bipolar disorder and was hospitalized for 6 months, during which time our insurance company was prepared to refuse certification more than once despite a policy that included 365 days of inpatient mental health treatment. A break in coverage by the insurance company would have meant that Nathaniel, still suicidal, would not receive the life-saving care he needed. Fortunately, I am a lawyer, which enabled me to act as a legal advocate for my son when our insurer threatened not to recertify. Because my son's experience with the insurance company is not unusual--many patients with mental illness struggle with insurance companies who refuse to certify treatment--I believe that the family or support people of seriously ill psychiatric patients should be prepared to act in circumstances similar to mine. Psychiatric inpatient units should, as a matter of course, provide information on legal remedies that can be obtained before irreparable harm occurs." [Abstract]

Gray SM, Otto MW.
Psychosocial approaches to suicide prevention: applications to patients with bipolar disorder.
J Clin Psychiatry 2001;62 Suppl 25:56-64
"Hopelessness, dysfunctional attitudes, and poor problem-solving abilities are psychosocial risk factors that have been identified as predictors of suicide. These psychosocial risk factors may help clinicians apply specific therapies and treatments to patients with bipolar disorder at risk for suicide. A search of the literature on suicide prevention revealed 17 randomized, controlled studies, which the authors reviewed to determine the efficacy of strategies aimed at eliminating psychosocial risk factors for suicide. Three strategies emerged as efficacious: (1) applying interventions to elicit emergency care by patients at times of distress; (2) training in problem-solving strategies; and (3) combining comprehensive interventions that include problem solving with intensive rehearsal of cognitive, social, emotional-labeling, and distress-tolerance skills. On the basis of their review of the literature, the authors make recommendations for suicide prevention for patients with bipolar disorder." [Abstract]

Potash JB, Kane HS, Chiu YF, Simpson SG, MacKinnon DF, McInnis MG, McMahon FJ, DePaulo JR Jr.
Attempted suicide and alcoholism in bipolar disorder: clinical and familial relationships.
Am J Psychiatry 2000 Dec;157(12):2048-50
"OBJECTIVE: This study examined the clinical and familial relationships between comorbid alcoholism and attempted suicide in affectively ill relatives of probands with bipolar I disorder. METHOD: In 71 families ascertained for a genetic linkage study, 337 subjects with major affective disorder were assessed by using the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia-Lifetime Version. RESULTS: Subjects with bipolar disorder and alcoholism had a 38.4% lifetime rate of attempted suicide, whereas those without alcoholism had a 21.7% rate. Attempted suicide among subjects with bipolar disorder and alcoholism clustered in a subset of seven families. Families with alcoholic and suicidal probands had a 40.7% rate of attempted suicide in first-degree relatives with bipolar disorder, whereas other families had a 19.0% rate. CONCLUSIONS: Comorbid alcoholism was associated with a higher rate of attempted suicide among family members with bipolar disorder. Attempted suicide and alcoholism clustered in a subset of families. These relationships may have a genetic origin and may be mediated by intoxication, mixed states, and/or temperamental instability." [Abstract]

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Recent Bipolar Disorder & Suicide Research

1) Vieta E, Azorin JM, Bauer M, Frangou S, Perugi G, Martinez G, Schreiner A
Psychiatrists' perceptions of potential reasons for non- and partial adherence to medication: Results of a survey in bipolar disorder from eight European countries.
J Affect Disord. 2012 Jul 25;
BACKGROUND: Partial/non-adherence to medication by patients with bipolar disorder is associated with exacerbation of symptoms, neurocognitive decline and increased risk of suicide and has a major influence on patient outcomes. Understanding psychiatrists' views on the causes and management of non-adherence are vital to address adherence problems effectively. METHODS: A 15-question survey was conducted of 2448 psychiatrists treating patients with bipolar disorder in eight European countries to ascertain their perceptions of the level and causes of non-adherence, and their preferred methods by which to assess it. RESULTS: A majority of patients (57%) were estimated to be partially/non-adherent. Three in four psychiatrists responded that most patients who deteriorated after stopping medication were unable to attribute this to non-adherence. An irregular daily routine/living circumstance affecting adherence was considered the most important reason for patients discontinuing medication. Only 4% of psychiatrists deemed intolerable side effects had led to most patients stopping their medication; 11% responded that drug/alcohol consumption may have impacted on adherence to medication for the majority of patients. LIMITATIONS: The survey was not distributed to all psychiatrists in the countries and the impact on the results, of any difference in the demographics of the respondents with respect to the population of psychiatrists across the eight countries, is not known. CONCLUSIONS: Partial/non-adherence remains a considerable problem amongst patients with bipolar disorder. There is a need for increased knowledge concerning partial/non-adherence at the level of the clinician-patient interaction, to reduce its impact and bring about improved clinical outcomes. [PubMed Citation] [Order full text from Infotrieve]

2) Bohman H, Jonsson U, Pren A, von Knorring L, Olsson G, von Knorring AL
Prognostic significance of functional somatic symptoms in adolescence: a 15-year community-based follow-up study of adolescents with depression compared with healthy peers.
BMC Psychiatry. 2012 Jul 27;12(1):90.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The lack of population based long-term longitudinal studies of functional physical/somatic symptoms has been stressed in previous research. Little is known about the long-term outcome or whether associated depression is a risk factor or a consequence. This study follows up adolescents with depression and non-depressed controls with or without functional somatic symptoms in a community sample during 15 years. METHODS: The total population of 16-17 year olds, in the city of Uppsala, Sweden, was screened for depression in 1991-1993. Adolescents with positive screening and the same number of healthy controls took part in a semi-structured diagnostic interview. In addition, 21 different self-rated somatic symptoms were assessed. The participants were followed up with a structured interview 15 years later, 64% participated. RESULTS: The number of concurrent somatic symptoms in adolescents with depression predicted adverse adult mental health outcomes in a stepwise manner. The quarter of the depressed adolescents with most somatic symptoms (greater than or equal to 5) subsequently developed recurrent depression (68%), panic disorder (44%), chronic depression (30%), somatoform disorders (26%), bipolar disorder (22%), suicide attempts (16%), and psychotic disorders (8%). Abdominal pain was a strong independent predictor for depression and anxiety.Somatic symptoms predicted adult mental disorders in non-depressed controls. CONCLUSIONS: Somatic symptoms precede depression and predict future mental disorders. The number of somatic symptoms concurrent with adolescent depression is related to subsequent poor mental health in a stepwise manner. Treatment guidelines for individuals with somatic symptoms are needed. [PubMed Citation] [Order full text from Infotrieve]

3) Swann AC, Lijffijt M, Lane SD, Steinberg JL, Moeller FG
Antisocial personality disorder and borderline symptoms are differentially related to impulsivity and course of illness in bipolar disorder.
J Affect Disord. 2012 Jul 24;
BACKGROUND: Interactions between characteristics of bipolar and Axis II cluster B disorders are clinically and diagnostically challenging. Characteristics associated with personality disorders may be dimensional aspects of bipolar disorder. We investigated relationships among antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) or borderline personality disorder symptoms, impulsivity, and course of illness in bipolar disorder. METHODS: Subjects with bipolar disorder were recruited from the community. Diagnosis was by structured clinical interview for DSM-IV (SCID-I and -II), psychiatric symptom assessment by the change version of the schedule for affective disorders and schizophrenia (SADS-C), severity of Axis II symptoms by ASPD and borderline personality disorder SCID-II symptoms, and impulsivity by the Barratt impulsiveness scale (BIS-11). RESULTS: ASPD and borderline symptoms were not related to clinical state or affective symptoms. Borderline symptoms correlated with BIS-11 impulsivity scores, and predicted history of suicide attempts independently of the relationship to impulsivity. ASPD symptoms were more strongly related to course of illness, including early onset, frequent episodes, and substance-related disorders. These effects persisted after allowance for gender and substance-use disorder history. CONCLUSIONS: Personality disorder symptoms appear to be dimensional, trait-like characteristics of bipolar disorder. ASPD and Borderline symptoms are differentially related to impulsivity and course of illness. [PubMed Citation] [Order full text from Infotrieve]

4) Takizawa T
[Suicide due to mental diseases based on the Vital Statistics Survey Death Form].
Nihon Koshu Eisei Zasshi. 2012 Jun;59(6):399-406.
[PubMed Citation] [Order full text from Infotrieve]

5) lvarez MJ, Roura P, Foguet Q, Oss A, Sol J, Arrufat FX
Posttraumatic stress disorder comorbidity and clinical implications in patients with severe mental illness.
J Nerv Ment Dis. 2012 Jun;200(6):549-52.
Traumatic experiences and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are more frequent in patients with serious mental illness than in the general population. This study included 102 patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and schizoaffective disorder, according to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) criteria. Epidemiological and clinical data were collected using the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale and Traumatic Life Events and Distressing Event questionnaires. We found a high number of traumatic experiences, and 15.1% of the patients met all criteria for PTSD. We found no differences based on diagnosis or sex, although there was a nonsignificant trend toward greater PTSD comorbidity in women. Among patients with serious mental illness and PTSD, 64.3% had made some attempt at suicide at some point in life, compared with 37.4% of patients without PTSD. [PubMed Citation] [Order full text from Infotrieve]

6) Khan A, Faucett J, Emslie GJ, Brown WA
Efficacy and safety of anti-manic agents in children and adults.
Isr J Psychiatry Relat Sci. 2012;49(2):122-7.
Objective: Pediatric trials in depression have led to major concerns about potential suicide inducing properties of antidepressants and doubts about their efficacy. Several trials of anti-manic agents in children were recently conducted and regulatory reviews of the data have become available. Methods: We acquired pediatric and adult anti-mania agent Medical and Statistical Reports from the U.S. FDA. We used these to evaluate efficacy, mortality, severe adverse events and suicidality. Results: The six pediatric studies enrolled 1,228 patients (828 drug/460 placebo). The seven adult drug approval programs enrolled 4,228 patients (2,356 drug/1,932 placebo). Mean mania rating scale baseline (pediatric=30.3/adult=30.3) scores were identical, and drug-placebo difference scores (pediatric=5.8/ adult=5.2) were not significantly different. There were no reported deaths during the pediatric trials. During the 23 adult trials there were 8 deaths (3 in drug group/5 in placebo group), a mortality rate of 3,290/100,000 patient exposure years. The proportion of patients that reported severe adverse events was slightly lower for the pediatric (4.2%) as compared to adult (4.7%) trials. A higher proportion of children (5/460, 1.1%) than adult (7/2,012, 0.3%) patients assigned to placebo reported suicidality, ?2(df=1)=4.2, p=0.04. We did not find evidence of increased suicidality for children assigned to drug (7/828, 0.8%) as compared to the children assigned to placebo (5/460, 1.1%). Conclusions: These data suggest remarkable similarity between the outcomes of pediatric and adult trials for bipolar mania. The therapeutic profile of these anti-manic agents in children is notably better than that for some other psychotropic drugs, for example, antidepressants. [PubMed Citation] [Order full text from Infotrieve]

7) Alevizos B, Alevizos E, Leonardou A, Zervas I
Low dosage lithium augmentation in venlafaxine resistant depression: An open-label study.
Psychiatrike. 2012 Apr-Jun;23(2):143-8.
Lithium augmentation is one of the best studied strategies for resistant depression. The lithium dosage usually given is around 900 mg/day and plasma level is maintained in the range of 0.5-0.8 mEq/L. However, the administration of lithium in this dosage necessitates monitoring of plasma concentration and increases the risk of toxicity and side effects. Since it has been shown that low lithium levels increase serotonin turnover and enhance serotonin neurotransmission, we thought it of interest to assess the efficacy of low dosage lithium augmentation for patients with resistant depression. Fifty one patients suffering from severe unipolar or bipolar depression who had failed to respond to treatment with venlafaxine 300-375 mg/day were included in the study and treated as outpatients. Patients had previously been exposed to unsuccessful treatment with various antidepressants, mostly SSRIs. After a washout period for previously administered antidepressants of one week, the dosage of venlafaxine was rapidly titrated to 300 or 375 mg/day, corresponding to about 5 mg/kg. The dose remained stable during the next six weeks. Additional antipsychotic medication was allowed to treat psychotic symptoms. Forty seven severely depressed patients who failed to respond to 300-375 mg/day venlafaxine were, in addition, given lithium carbonate in low dosage (300-450 mg/day). The Clinical Global Impression Improvement scale was used as the treatment outcome. A score of 1 or 2 was considered as non-response. All patients gave informed consent to participate in the study. Ratings were performed at baseline and after 1,2 and 5 weeks. Lithium plasma concentration measurements were performed after 1 and 4 weeks. After 5 weeks of augmentation, 51% of the patients were rated as "much" or "very much" improved. Bipolar patients showed a better response than unipolar (64.3% vs 45.5%, p<0.038). Most patients (76%) showed a rapid response (up tp 7 days), and only 2 patients (4.6%) responded after more than 2 weeks The mean lithium plasma level was 0.330.09 mEq/L. No significant differences were found in treatment response with regard to sex, family history, psychotic symptomatology and suicidal ideation. No troublesome side effects were reported. Our results show that treatment augmentation with low lithium dosage may be as effective as augmentation with higher dosage, is well tolerated and does not necessitate monitoring of plasma level. Hence, an initial trial of ugmentation at low dosage lithium may be the preferred first choice in non-emergent situations. The low dosage also minimizes the risk of side effects and drug-drug interactions. Prospective controlled studies to confirm our findings are needed as are larger scale comparisons with therapeutic dose lithium augmentation. [PubMed Citation] [Order full text from Infotrieve]

8) Chakraborty V, Cherian AV, Math SB, Venkatasubramanian G, Thennarasu K, Mataix-Cols D, Reddy YC
Clinically significant hoarding in obsessive-compulsive disorder: results from an Indian study.
Compr Psychiatry. 2012 Jul 13;
BACKGROUND: Hoarding is frequently conceptualized as a symptom of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), but recent evidence indicates that, in most cases, hoarding may be better conceptualized as a distinct disorder that can coexist with OCD. Most of the research on hoarding is from the Western countries. This study aimed to provide data on the prevalence and correlates of clinically significant hoarding in a large sample of patients with OCD from the Indian subcontinent. METHODS: We examined 200 patients with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition OCD for clinically significant hoarding using the Saving Inventory-Revised, followed by a clinical interview. RESULTS: Twenty patients (10%) had clinically significant hoarding. In all cases, hoarding did not appear to be related or secondary to other OCD symptoms. None of the cases consulted for their hoarding problems. Compared with nonhoarders, hoarders hailed exclusively from an urban background and had a significantly higher frequency of certain obsessions and compulsions, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, cluster C personality disorders, and a higher number of lifetime suicidal attempts. They also had a more severe OCD along with poorer global functioning and somewhat poorer insight into obsessive-compulsive symptoms. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that clinically significant hoarding is relatively prevalent in Indian patients with OCD and that it appears to be largely unrelated to the OCD phenotype. However, the presence of comorbid hoarding is associated with more severe OCD, high comorbidity, more suicidal attempts, and a lower level of functioning. The results contribute to the current nosologic debate around hoarding disorder and provide a unique transcultural perspective. [PubMed Citation] [Order full text from Infotrieve]

9) Keilp JG, Gorlyn M, Russell M, Oquendo MA, Burke AK, Harkavy-Friedman J, Mann JJ
Neuropsychological function and suicidal behavior: attention control, memory and executive dysfunction in suicide attempt.
Psychol Med. 2012 Jul 10;:1-13.
BACKGROUND: Executive dysfunction, distinct from other cognitive deficits in depression, has been associated with suicidal behavior. However, this dysfunction is not found consistently across samples. Method Medication-free subjects with DSM-IV major depressive episode (major depressive disorder and bipolar type I disorder) and a past history of suicidal behavior (n=72) were compared to medication-free depressed subjects with no history of suicidal behavior (n=80) and healthy volunteers (n=56) on a battery of tests assessing neuropsychological functions typically affected by depression (motor and psychomotor speed, attention, memory) and executive functions reportedly impaired in suicide attempters (abstract/contingent learning, working memory, language fluency, impulse control). RESULTS: All of the depressed subjects performed worse than healthy volunteers on motor, psychomotor and language fluency tasks. Past suicide attempters, in turn, performed worse than depressed non-attempters on attention and memory/working memory tasks [a computerized Stroop task, the Buschke Selective Reminding Task (SRT), the Benton Visual Retention Test (VRT) and an N-back task] but not on other executive function measures, including a task associated with ventral prefrontal function (Object Alternation). Deficits were not accounted for by current suicidal ideation or the lethality of past attempts. A small subsample of those using a violent method in their most lethal attempt showed a pattern of poor executive performance. CONCLUSIONS: Deficits in specific components of attention control, memory and working memory were associated with suicidal behavior in a sample where non-violent attempt predominated. Broader executive dysfunction in depression may be associated with specific forms of suicidal behavior, rather than suicidal behavior per se. [PubMed Citation] [Order full text from Infotrieve]

10) Topiwala A, Hothi G, Ebmeier KP
Identifying patients at risk of perinatal mood disorders.
Practitioner. 2012 May;256(1751):15-8, 2.
Perinatal mental illness influences obstetric outcomes, mother-baby interactions and longer term emotional and cognitive development of the child. Psychiatric disorders have consistently been found to be one of the leading causes of maternal deaths, often through suicide. Postnatal depression and puerperal psychosis are two disorders most commonly associated with the perinatal period. The most efficient strategy to identify patients at risk relies on focussing on clinically vulnerable subgroups: enquiries about depressive symptoms should be made at the usual screening visits. Attention should be paid to any sign of poor self-care, avoidance of eye contact, overactivity or underactivity, or abnormalities in the rate of speech. Particular care should be taken to ask about suicidal ideation and thoughts of harming others, including the baby. One of the most important risk factors is a previous history of depression. The degree of risk is directly correlated with severity of past episodes. Both antenatal and postnatal depression are being increasingly recognised in men. Puerperal psychosis is rare (1 to 2 per 1,000). Sixty per cent of women with puerperal psychosis already have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder or schizoaffective disorder. Women with a personal history of postpartum psychosis or bipolar affective disorder should be considered as high risk for postpartum psychosis. All pregnant women who are identified as being at high risk should have a shared care plan for their late pregnancy and early postnatal psychiatric management. Women with current mood disorder of mild or moderate severity who have a first-degree relative with a history of bipolar disorder or postpartum psychosis should be referred for psychiatric assessment. [PubMed Citation] [Order full text from Infotrieve]

11) Fardet L, Petersen I, Nazareth I
Suicidal behavior and severe neuropsychiatric disorders following glucocorticoid therapy in primary care.
Am J Psychiatry. 2012 May;169(5):491-7.
[PubMed Citation] [Order full text from Infotrieve]

12) Gonda X, Pompili M, Serafini G, Montebovi F, Campi S, Dome P, Duleba T, Girardi P, Rihmer Z
Suicidal behavior in bipolar disorder: Epidemiology, characteristics and major risk factors.
J Affect Disord. 2012 Jul 2;
BACKGROUND: Suicide is one of the leading causes of death and a major public health problem worldwide, and the majority of suicide attempters and completers suffer from some major affective disorder at the time of their death, which, in the majority of cases is unrecognized, under- or misdiagnosed and untreated. Methods: Based on a systematic literature search, the authors give a detailed and critical overview of established risk factors of suicide in bipolar disorder. RESULTS: Among affective disorders, bipolar disorder carries the highest risk of suicide, yet not all bipolar patients commit or even attempt suicide during their illness. While the general suicide risk factors also apply for bipolar disorders, there are several disease-specific risk factors as well which should be taken into account when evaluating suicide risk in case of patients. Conclusion: It is crucial to identify suicide risk factors in bipolar disorder to be able to differentiate those patients within this already increased-risk illness group who are at especially high risk and therefore to allow for better prediction and prevention of suicidal acts. [PubMed Citation] [Order full text from Infotrieve]

13) Goldstein TR, Ha W, Axelson DA, Goldstein BI, Liao F, Gill MK, Ryan ND, Yen S, Hunt J, Hower H, Keller M, Strober M, Birmaher B
Predictors of Prospectively Examined Suicide Attempts Among Youth With Bipolar DisorderPredictors of Suicide Attempts.
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2012 Jul 2;:1-10.
CONTEXT Individuals with early onset of bipolar disorder are at high risk for suicide. Yet, no study to date has examined factors associated with prospective risk for suicide attempts among youth with bipolar disorder. OBJECTIVE To examine past, intake, and follow-up predictors of prospectively observed suicide attempts among youth with bipolar disorder. DESIGN We interviewed subjects, on average, every 9 months over a mean of 5 years using the Longitudinal Interval Follow-up Evaluation. SETTING Outpatient and inpatient units at 3 university centers. PARTICIPANTS A total of 413 youths (mean [SD] age, 12.6 [3.3] years) who received a diagnosis of bipolar I disorder (n=244), bipolar II disorder (n=28), or bipolar disorder not otherwise specified (n=141). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES Suicide attempt over prospective follow-up and past, intake, and follow-up predictors of suicide attempts. RESULTS Of the 413 youths with bipolar disorder, 76 (18%) made at least 1 suicide attempt within 5 years of study intake; of these, 31 (8% of the entire sample and 41% of attempters) made multiple attempts. Girls had higher rates of attempts than did boys, but rates were similar for bipolar subtypes. The most potent past and intake predictors of prospectively examined suicide attempts included severity of depressive episode at study intake and family history of depression. Follow-up data were aggregated over 8-week intervals; greater number of weeks spent with threshold depression, substance use disorder, and mixed mood symptoms and greater number of weeks spent receiving outpatient psychosocial services in the preceding 8-week period predicted greater likelihood of a suicide attempt. CONCLUSIONS Early-onset bipolar disorder is associated with high rates of suicide attempts. Factors such as intake depressive severity and family history of depression should be considered in the assessment of suicide risk among youth with bipolar disorder. Persistent depression, mixed presentations, and active substance use disorder signal imminent risk for suicidal behavior in this population. [PubMed Citation] [Order full text from Infotrieve]

14) Koek RJ, Yerevanian BI, Mintz J
Subtypes of antipsychotics and suicidal behavior in bipolar disorder.
J Affect Disord. 2012 Jun 29;
OBJECTIVE: Antipsychotics are commonly used in bipolar disorder, with newer (SGA) agents increasingly replacing FGA antipsychotics, particularly in bipolar depression. There are few data on differences between FGA and SGA antipsychotics in terms of their relationship to suicidal behavior in bipolar disorder. METHOD: This was a retrospective chart review of 161 bipolar veterans treated naturalistically with antipsychotics at a university-affiliated VA hospital and clinics for up to 8 years. Charts were reviewed to determine monthly antipsychotic use and occurrence of suicidal behavior: completed suicide, attempted suicide or hospitalization to prevent suicide. Suicidal behavior events were compared across patients during treatment with individual antipsychotics and FGAs or SGAs as a class. RESULTS: Non-lethal suicide events were more common during FGA than SGA monotherapy (9 events/110 months of exposure vs. 6 events/381 months of exposure; ?(2)=9.65, p=0.002). Suicide event rates did not differ between FGAs and SGAs when used in conjunction with mood stabilizers. Event rates were lower with lithium than anticonvulsants when used in conjunction with antipsychotics. No differences were found between olanzapine, risperidone and quetiapine. LIMITATIONS: The retrospective chart review methodology may have led to confounding by indication and diagnostic inaccuracy. No completed suicides occurred. Study participants were primarily male veterans. Results may not be generalizable to SGAs marketed since 2003. CONCLUSIONS: FGA antipsychotic monotherapy may be associated with higher suicidal behavior risk than SGA antipsychotic monotherapy. Antipsychotics used in conjunction with mood stabilizers, particularly lithium, are associated with lower rates, independent of antipsychotic subtype. [PubMed Citation] [Order full text from Infotrieve]

15) Pompili M, Gibiino S, Innamorati M, Serafini G, Del Casale A, De Risio L, Palermo M, Montebovi F, Campi S, De Luca V, Sher L, Tatarelli R, Biondi M, Duval F, Serretti A, Girardi P
Prolactin and thyroid hormone levels are associated with suicide attempts in psychiatric patients.
Psychiatry Res. 2012 Jun 27;
The aim of this study is to evaluate biological factors associated with recent suicidal attempts in a naturalistic sample. A total of 439 patients suffering from major depression disorder (MDD), bipolar disorder (BD) and psychotic disorders (schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder and psychosis not otherwise specified), who were consecutively assessed in the Emergency Department of an Italian Hospital (January 2008-December 2009), were included. In the whole sample, suicide attempters and non-attempters differed with regard to free triiodothyronine (FT3) and prolactin values only. A univariate general linear model indicated significant effects of sex (F(1;379)=9.29; P=0.002), suicidal status (F(1;379)=4.49; P=0.04) and the interaction between sex and suicidal status (F(1;379)=5.17; P=0.02) on prolactin levels. A multinomial logistic regression model indicated that suicidal attempters were 2.27 times (odds ratio (OR)=0.44; 95% confidence interval (95%CI): 0.23/0.82; P=0.01) less likely to have higher FT3 values than non-attempters; while prolactin values failed to reach statistical significance (OR=0.99; 95%CI: 0.98/1.00; P=0.051). Both prolactin and thyroid hormones may be involved in a complex compensatory mechanism to correct reduced central serotonin activity. Further studies may help in understanding how these findings can be used by clinicians in assessing suicide risk. [PubMed Citation] [Order full text from Infotrieve]

16) Sarısoy G, Kaar OF, Pazvantoğlu O, Oztrk A, Korkmaz IZ, Kocamanoğlu B, Bke O, Sahin AR
Temperament and character traits in patients with bipolar disorder and associations with attempted suicide.
Compr Psychiatry. 2012 Jun 22;
OBJECTIVE: This study was intended to investigate temperament and character traits in bipolar disorder patients with or without a history of attempted suicide. METHODS: One hundred nineteen patients diagnosed with euthymic bipolar disorder based on Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision, and with no accompanying Axis I and II comorbidity, and 103 healthy controls were included. Structured Clinical Interview for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Axis I and II disorders were used to exclude Axis I and II comorbidity. Temperament and character traits of bipolar patients with a history attempted suicide (25.2%, n = 30) or without (74.8%, n = 89) and of the healthy volunteers were determined using the Temperament and Character Inventory. The association between current suicide ideation and temperament and character traits was also examined. RESULTS: Bipolar patients with or without a history of attempted suicide had higher harm avoidance (HA) scores compared with the healthy controls. Persistence scores of bipolar patients with no history of attempted suicide were lower than those of the healthy controls. Self-directedness (SD) scores of the bipolar patients with a history of attempted suicide were lower than those of patients with no such history. Self-transcendence scores of bipolar patients with no history of attempted suicide were lower than those of both the healthy controls and of those patients with a history of attempted suicide. A positive correlation was determined between current suicidal ideation scale scores and HA, and a negative correlation between SD and cooperativeness was determined. CONCLUSIONS: High harm avoidance may be a temperament trait specific to bipolar disorder patients. However, it may not be correlated with attempted suicide in such patients. These may have low persistence, high SD and low self-transcendence temperament and character traits that protect against attempted suicide. Harm avoidance, SD, and cooperativeness may be correlated with current suicidal ideation. [PubMed Citation] [Order full text from Infotrieve]

17) van Kessel K, Myers E, Stanley S, Reed LW
Trends in child and adolescent discharges at a New Zealand psychiatric inpatient unit between 1998 and 2007.
N Z Med J. 2012;125(1355):55-61.
[PubMed Citation] [Order full text from Infotrieve]

18) Dell'osso B, Ketter TA
Use of adjunctive stimulants in adult bipolar depression.
Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2012 Apr 13;:1-14.
Bipolar depression represents a high priority research field, due to its pervasiveness, and high economic and personal (suicidality, impaired function, quality of life) costs, and the limited evidence base to inform therapeutics. Mood stabilizers and second-generation antipsychotics for bipolar depression are commonly only partially effective, and their side-effects may overlap with depressive symptoms such as hypersomnia, daytime drowsiness, fatigue, psychomotor retardation, and weight gain. Moreover, the use of antidepressants in bipolar depression is controversial due to concerns regarding the risks of inefficacy or switching to mood elevation. Stimulants and related compounds such as modafinil and armodafinil have on occasion been used as adjuncts in bipolar depressed patients with encouraging results, but their use is limited by the paucity of systematic evidence of efficacy and safety. The present review aims to provide an updated perspective on the use of stimulants and stimulant-like medications in adult bipolar depression, considering not only recent randomized controlled trials, but also open naturalistic studies, in order to clarify the strengths and limitations of using these agents. [PubMed Citation] [Order full text from Infotrieve]

19) Wasserman D, Rihmer Z, Rujescu D, Sarchiapone M, Sokolowski M, Titelman D, Zalsman G, Zemishlany Z, Carli V
[The European Psychiatric Association (EPA) guidance on suicide treatment and prevention].
Neuropsychopharmacol Hung. 2012 Jun;14(2):113-36.
Suicide is a major public health problem in the WHO European Region accounting for over 150,000 deaths per year. Suicidal crisis: Acute intervention should start immediately in order to keep the patient alive. Diagnosis: An underlying psychiatric disorder is present in up to 90% of people who completed suicide. Comorbidity with depression, anxiety, substance abuse and personality disorders is high. In order to achieve successful prevention of suicidality, adequate diagnostic procedures and appropriate treatment for the underlying disorder are essential. Treatment: Existing evidence supports the efficacy of pharmacological treatment and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in preventing suicidal behaviour. Some other psychological treatments are promising, but the supporting evidence is currently insufficient. Studies show that antidepressant treatment decreases the risk for suicidality among depressed patients. However, the risk of suicidal behaviour in depressed patients treated with antidepressants exists during the first 10-14 days of treatment, which requires careful monitoring. Short-term supplementary medication with anxiolytics and hypnotics in the case of anxiety and insomnia is recommended. Treatment with antidepressants of children and adolescents should only be given under supervision of a specialist. Long-term treatment with lithium has been shown to be effective in preventing both suicide and attempted suicide in patients with unipolar and bipolar depression. Treatment with clozapine is effective in reducing suicidal behaviour in patients with schizophrenia. Other atypical antipsychotics are promising but more evidence is required. Treatment team: Multidisciplinary treatment teams including psychiatrist and other professionals such as psychologist, social worker, and occupational therapist are always preferable, as integration of pharmacological, psychological and social rehabilitation is recommended especially for patients with chronic suicidality. Family: The suicidal person independently of age should always be motivated to involve family in the treatment. Social support: Psychosocial treatment and support is recommended, as the majority of suicidal patients have problems with relationships, work, school and lack functioning social networks. Safety: A secure home, public and hospital environment, without access to suicidal means is a necessary strategy in suicide prevention. Each treatment option, prescription of medication and discharge of the patient from hospital should be carefully evaluated against the involved risks. Training of personnel: Training of general practitioners (GPs) is effective in the prevention of suicide. It improves treatment of depression and anxiety, quality of the provided care and attitudes towards suicide. Continuous training including discussions about ethical and legal issues is necessary for psychiatrists and other mental health professionals. (This article was originally published as: Wasserman D., Rihmer Z., Rujescu D., Sarchiapone M., Sokolowski M., Titelman D., et al. The European Psychiatric Association (EPA) guidance on suicide treatment and prevention. European Psychiatry 2012;27(2):129-141. doi:10.1016/j.eurpsy. 2011.06.003 Copyright 2011 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved. With permission.). [PubMed Citation] [Order full text from Infotrieve]

20) Indic P, Murray G, Maggini C, Amore M, Meschi T, Borghi L, Baldessarini RJ, Salvatore P
Multi-scale motility amplitude associated with suicidal thoughts in major depression.
PLoS One. 2012;7(6):e38761.
Major depression occurs at high prevalence in the general population, often starts in juvenile years, recurs over a lifetime, and is strongly associated with disability and suicide. Searches for biological markers in depression may have been hindered by assuming that depression is a unitary and relatively homogeneous disorder, mainly of mood, rather than addressing particular, clinically crucial features or diagnostic subtypes. Many studies have implicated quantitative alterations of motility rhythms in depressed human subjects. Since a candidate feature of great public-health significance is the unusually high risk of suicidal behavior in depressive disorders, we studied correlations between a measure (vulnerability index [VI]) derived from multi-scale characteristics of daily-motility rhythms in depressed subjects (n?=?36) monitored with noninvasive, wrist-worn, electronic actigraphs and their self-assessed level of suicidal thinking operationalized as a wish to die. Patient-subjects had a stable clinical diagnosis of bipolar-I, bipolar-II, or unipolar major depression (n?=?12 of each type). VI was associated inversely with suicidal thinking (r?=? -0.61 with all subjects and r?=? -0.73 with bipolar disorder subjects; both p<0.0001) and distinguished patients with bipolar versus unipolar major depression with a sensitivity of 91.7% and a specificity of 79.2%. VI may be a useful biomarker of characteristic features of major depression, contribute to differentiating bipolar and unipolar depression, and help to detect risk of suicide. An objective biomarker of suicide-risk could be advantageous when patients are unwilling or unable to share suicidal thinking with clinicians. [PubMed Citation] [Order full text from Infotrieve]