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J Psychosom Res. 2012 Oct;73(4):268-71. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2012.08.002. Epub 2012 Aug 24.

Characteristics of suicide among diabetes patients: a population based study of suicide victims in Northern Finland.

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1
Department of Psychiatry, Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland. sanna.lofman@oulu.fi

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Recent case reports of insulin suicides have raised the need to study in detail the suicides among diabetes patients.

METHODS:

The data consisted of 2489 suicides (2030 men, 459 women) in Northern Finland during 1988 to 2010. The suicide victims with hospital-treated type 1 (n=27) or type 2 diabetes (n=51) were compared with those without diabetes (n=2411).

RESULTS:

Of all suicide victims, 3.1% had diabetes (34.6% type 1 and 65.4% type 2 diabetes). 24.0% of victims with type 2 diabetes were under the influence of alcohol when they died from suicide, while the proportion was 44.4% in type 1 diabetes and 46.6% in victims without diabetes (P=0.007). Compared to those with type 2 diabetes or without diabetes, victims with type 1 diabetes had suffered more commonly from depression (44.4%, 23.5%, 19.9%, respectively) (P=0.006) and chosen self-poisoning as suicide method (48.1%, 31.4%, and 18.0%) (P<0.001). In victims with type 1 diabetes insulin as a suicide method covered half of the self-poisoning cases, while the proportion in type 2 diabetes was 13%.

CONCLUSION:

We suggest that physicians who treat diabetes patients should evaluate co-occurring depression and substance abuse, both of which are major risk factors of suicide.

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