Severity, Variability of Depression Symptoms Predict Suicide Attempt

March 22, 2019

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News


The severity and variability of depression symptoms may be associated with suicide risk. Over a 12-year period, researchers followed the children of people with mood disorders and regularly assessed their psychiatric diagnoses, suicidal behavior, and self-reported symptoms. They found that participants with the most severe and variable depression symptoms over time were at highest risk for suicide attempts. According to the researchers, health care providers should assess patients for suicide risk based on the course of their symptoms, not just their psychiatric diagnoses. “Clinicians must pay particular attention to the severity of current and past depressive symptoms and try to reduce their severity and fluctuations to decrease suicide risk,” said lead author Nadine M. Melhem of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry.

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