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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 1987 Oct;76(4):372-80.

Mortality in severe depression. A prospective study including 103 suicides.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital, Lund, Sweden.


Twelve hundred and six psychiatric in-patients, 506 men and 700 women, with severe depression/melancholia were rated at discharge with a multi-dimensional diagnostic schedule during 1956-1969. The sample was followed up until December 31, 1983. A total of 476 deaths were recorded including 103 suicides. Suicides and to a small proportion diseases of the nervous system constituted the total excess mortality in unipolar disorders. In bipolar disorders there was also an increased mortality from physical disorders, while the suicide frequency was lower (9% versus 4%). Male suicides had higher initial ratings for the items brittle, sensitive, marital problems, acute onset and lower ratings for psychomotor retardation than other men. Female suicides had a higher frequency of attempted suicides than other women. Acute onset and attempted suicide were associated with suicides early in the course contrary to the other differentiating items. The suicide frequency was similar in admissions during 1956-1962 compared with those during 1963-1969.

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