GP treatment could be lifesaving
ONE in 10 primary care patients with depression attempt suicide within five years, but the risk is confined almost exclusively to major depressive episodes (MDE), a study shows.
Finnish researchers followed 137 patients with depressive disorders for five years, finding 14 patients attempted suicide, although none died. Twenty-one of the 22 attempts occurred during MDE with nine (41%) of the attempts occurring during periods of concurrent MDE and substance abuse. One of the authors said the attending primary care doctors were rarely aware of the attempts.
“Suicide prevention among primary care patients with depression should focus on active treatment of major depressive disorder and co-morbid substance use, and awareness of suicide risk,” they said.
Psychol Med 2013; online 10 April