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September 3, 2015

Behavior Patterns that Precede Suicide


Young woman cryingAccording to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 800,000 people commit suicide every year, with perhaps 20 times that number attempting suicide.  Suicide has become one of the leading causes of death in the young.  Research data collected by the international BRIDGE-II-MIX study evaluated 2811 patients suffering from depression, including 628 who had already attempted suicide


What they found is that certain patterns of behavior are common before a suicide attempt.  This pattern is referred to as “a depressive mixed state (is) where a patient is depressed, but also has symptoms of excitation, or mania. … 40% of all the depressed patients who attempted suicide had a mixed episode rather than just depression.  All the patients who suffer from mixed depression are at much higher risk of suicide”.


The study also found that suicide risk increases to 50% when any of the following behavior symptoms are present.


  • Risky behaviors, i.e reckless driving, promiscuity, thrill seeking
  • Psychomotor agitation, like pacing around a room, wringing one’s hands, pulling off clothing, and putting it back on or similar actions
  • Impulsivity, like acting on a whim, displaying behavior characterized by little or no forethought, reflection, or consideration for others or consequences.


Health Psychology Sacramento advises patients and family of depressed patients to watch out for these symptoms and report them to their treating therapists and psychiatrists.  Frequently antidepressant and stimulant treatments exacerbates exactly these manic-like symptoms and increases the risk for suicide.  Patients with a history of the above identified symptoms should not be treated with antidepressants or stimulants.


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