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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2004 Dec 7;76 Suppl:S93-S105.

Suicidal behaviors and drug abuse: impulsivity and its assessment.

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Neurobehavioral Research Laboratory and Clinic, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, 1300 Moursund Street, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Impulsivity appears to play an important role in suicidal behaviors and drug abuse, which are two psychiatric problems that may interact with one another. Interpretation of the literature on impulsivity in these behaviors may be complicated by the variety of measurement techniques for the assessment of impulsivity. There are three general types of impulsivity assessment: self-report, biological, and laboratory behavioral. Because laboratory behavioral measures both meet an operational definition of impulsivity and are sensitive to state-dependent changes in impulsivity, this paper presents data that focuses on laboratory behavioral performance among samples emitting suicidal behaviors or substance abuse. To better account for influence of impulsivity in these psychiatric disturbances, no single source of measurement should be used without the consideration of other types of instruments.

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