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Psychosom Med. 2005 Mar-Apr;67(2):241-5.

Lifetime prevalences of physical diseases and mental disorders in young suicide victims.

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1
Department of Psychiatry, University of Oulu, Finland.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Evaluation was done of a possible link between psychiatric and physical illnesses in suicide victims 25 years of age or younger.

METHODS:

This was a follow-up study based on a 13-year database (n = 1,585) of all suicides committed during the years 1988 to 2000 in northern Finland with linkage to national hospital discharge registers. The setting for the study was the province of Oulu, located in northern Finland. Subjects comprised 202 male and 27 female suicide victims aged 25 years or less.

RESULTS:

Despite the young age of the suicide victims, lifetime prevalence of physical illness was about 70% in both males and females. In relation to mental disorders, female suicide victims were affected significantly more (45%) than their male counterparts (21%). About 27% of the subjects with physical illnesses had also suffered from mental disorders, but the respective proportion among those without any physical illness was only 7%. An increased prevalence of mental disorders was found in victims with diseases of the skin and subcutaneous tissues, musculoskeletal, respiratory, and digestive systems. Furthermore, increased incidences of mental disorders were also noticed in connection with injuries, poisonings, and symptoms or signs of infectious diseases. Prevalence of mental disorders in these physical disease categories varied from 25% to 44%.

CONCLUSION:

We recommend a greater attention to young people with physical illnesses and other symptoms in the hope that such screening may lead to an early recognition of psychiatric disorders and suicidal tendencies.

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