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SUICIDE RISK

Category: Medical

Topic: Psychiatric

Level: EMT

Next Unit: Agitated Delirium

3 minute read

Management of Suicide Risk


In the field, your biggest challenge* with behavioral abnormalities in psychosis will be in preventing suicide.

*aside from addressing the medical complications arising from suicide attempt.

RISK FACTORS:

The psychiatric disorders most commonly associated with suicide include:

Depression

The major cause of suicide is untreated or inadequately treated depression, which is in 90% of those attempting suicide.

  • bipolar disorder
  • alcoholism or other substance abuse
  • schizophrenia.

Of those completing suicide, 95% have a psychiatric diagnosis.

The symptoms most commonly associated with suicide include:

 Previous suicide attempt

The strongest single factor predictive of suicide is prior history of attempted suicide.

  • ideation or defined lethal plan of action which has been verbalized and/or written
  • alcohol and substance abuse
  • chronic pain
  • purposelessness
  • anxiety
  • agitation
  • unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
  • feeling trapped, no way out, or hopelessness
  • withdrawal from friends, family and society
  • anger and/or aggressive tendencies
  • recklessness or engaging in risky activities
  • dramatic mood changes
  • history of trauma or abuse
  • some major physical illness (cancer, CHF, etc.)
  • job or financial loss
  • relationship or social loss
  • easy access to lethal means
  • lack of social support and sense of isolation
  • certain cultural and religious beliefs
  • male gender
  • Age between 35 and 50