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Aust N Z J Psychiatry. 2005 Apr;39(4):266-73.

Clinical management for hospital-treated deliberate self-poisoning: comparisons between patients with major depression and borderline personality disorder.

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  • 1Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, Australia.



To compare the initial clinical management of hospital-treated deliberate self-poisoning patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) or borderline personality disorder (BPD) after controlling for demographic factors and level of suicide ideation.


This study compared sequential hospital treated deliberate self-poisoning patients (n = 570) with either MDD or BPD (but no major comorbid psychopathology) on four outcomes modelled using logistic regression: (i) length of stay in the general hospital; (ii) discharge to a psychiatric hospital; (iii) psychiatric follow-up; and (iv) general practitioner (GP) follow-up.


BPD and MDD patients were discharged to psychiatric inpatient care at very similar rates (33%-35%) and almost all subjects with high levels of suicidal ideation were discharged to psychiatric hospital. However, for mild to moderate levels of suicidal ideation BPD patients were more likely to be discharged to psychiatric hospital than MDD patients. After controlling for demographics and suicidal ideation, BPD patients were more likely to be referred for psychiatric hospitalization on discharge (adjusted OR = 1.79, 95% CI = 1.01-3.18) and less likely to be referred to GPs if discharged to home (adjusted OR = 0.44, 95% CI = 0.24-0.81). There were no differences in general hospital length of stay or arrangements made for psychiatric follow-up for those discharged to home.


This suggests that for mild to moderate suicidal ideation levels clinicians are more likely to choose to send BPD patients, after deliberate self-poisoning, to inpatient psychiatric care than MDD patients. Clinicians are also apparently more likely to choose to manage MDD patients in primary care settings, for those patients discharged to home. This has implications for service planning and clinical guidelines.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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