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Crisis. 1996;17(4):175-81.

Opioid addiction and suicidality.

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Psychiatric Clinic, University Hospital Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.


The prevalence of suicide attempts among opioid addicts is reported to lie between 8% and 17%, with some studies reporting an even higher rate among special groups of addicts. Yet there is insufficient knowledge about which addicts have a higher risk of suicide and which other factors seem to be involved in the constellation leading to the suicide attempt; the study of different subgroups of addicts is thus necessary. This paper reports a study on suicide attempts among a sample population in a detoxification unit and another group undergoing codeine maintenance treatment. There was a high rate of suicide attempts among both groups (23% of those in the detoxification unit and 28% of those maintained on codeine), but treating physicians tended to underestimate suicidality. The results lead to the conclusion that among a subgroup of addicts suicidality plays a larger role; a greater emphasis should thus be placed on the underlying psychopathology and the treatment needed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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