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Am J Psychiatry. 2002 Mar;159(3):450-5.

Mental disorder in elderly suicides: a case-control study.

Author information

1
Section of Psychiatry, Institute of Clinical Neuroscience and Department of Social Medicine, Göteborg University, Sweden.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The authors' goal was to study the importance of different psychiatric disorders in relation to suicide in individuals 65 years old or older.

METHOD:

The psychological autopsy approach was used to study 85 cases of suicide among subjects who were 65 years old or older; 153 living comparison subjects from the same age group who were randomly selected from the tax register were interviewed face-to-face. Retrospective axis I diagnoses were made according to DSM-IV on the basis of interview data and medical records.

RESULTS:

Ninety-seven percent of the suicide victims fulfilled criteria for at least one DSM-IV axis I diagnosis, compared with 18% of the living comparison subjects. Recurrent major depressive disorder was a very strong risk factor for suicide, as was substance use disorder. An elevated risk was also associated with minor depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, psychotic disorder, single-episode major depressive disorder, and anxiety disorder. Comorbid axis I disorders were observed in 15 (38%) of the 39 elderly subjects with major depressive disorder who had committed suicide.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although recurrent major depressive disorder was the mental disorder most strongly associated with suicide, the findings of this study suggest that elderly individuals who commit suicide represent a heterogeneous group with regard to mental disorders, implying a need for differentiated prevention strategies.

PMID:
11870010
DOI:
10.1176/appi.ajp.159.3.450
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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