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J Psychopharmacol. 2001 Jun;15(2):127-35.

Suicide and schizophrenia.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Hillside Hospital Division of the North Shore, Long Island Jewish Health System and The Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, USA.


Suicide and suicide attempts occur at a significantly greater rate in schizophrenia than in the general population. Common estimates are that 10% of people with schizophrenia will eventually have a completed suicide, and that attempts are made at two to five times that rate. Demographically associated with suicidality in schizophrenia are being young, being early in the course of the illness, being male, coming from a high socioeconomic family background, having high intelligence, having high expectations, not being married, lacking social supports, having awareness of symptoms, and being recently discharged from the hospital. Also associated are reduced self-esteem, stigma, recent loss or stress, hopelessness, isolation, treatment non-compliance and substance abuse. Clinically, the most common correlates of suicidality in schizophrenia are depressive symptoms and the depressive syndrome, although severe psychotic and panic-like symptoms may contribute as well. This review specifically explores the issue of depression in schizophrenia, in relation to suicide, by organizing the differential diagnosis of this state and highlighting their potentially treatable or correctable causes. This differential diagnosis includes both acute and chronic disappointment reactions, the prodrome of an acute psychotic episode, neuroleptic induced akinesia and akathisia, the possibility of direct neuroleptic-induced depression, negative symptoms of schizophrenia, and the possible co-occurrence of an independent depressive diathesis. The potential beneficial roles of 'atypical' antipsychotic agents, including both clozapine and more novel agents, and adjunctive treatment with other psychopharmacological medications are considered, and the important roles of psychosocial factors and interventions are recognized.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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