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Acta Psychiatr Scand. 1997 Nov;96(5):362-6.

Suicide attempts in a cohort of drug abusers: a 5-year follow-up study.

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Department of Applied Psychology, Lund University, Sweden.


A group of 125 drug abusers admitted consecutively for detoxification and short-term rehabilitation were followed up 5 years after discharge. They were asked about possible suicide attempts in a semi-structured face-to-face interview. Nearly half of the group (45%) reported having attempted suicide at some point in their life. The most common reasons given were the loss of a person whom they loved, and feelings of loneliness. Only three respondents reported using their drug of choice in the attempt(s). The suicide attempters were more often found to have been in child psychiatric treatment earlier, and to have experienced loss of significant others in childhood, than those who did not report attempting suicide. At follow-up the suicide attempters indicated that they experienced more depressive moods and more severe psychological problems than those who had never made a suicide attempt. The importance of assessing the risk of suicide attempts among drug addicts in order to be able to take measures to prevent future suicidal behaviour is emphasized.

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