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Substance abuse is associated with a higher risk of suicide

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 April 2020

D. de la Vega Sánchez
Affiliation:
Servicio de Psiquiatría, Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal, Madrid, Spain
P. Artieda Urrutia
Affiliation:
Servicio de Psiquiatría, Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal, Madrid, Spain
J. Gómez Arnau
Affiliation:
Servicio de Psiquiatría, Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal, Madrid, Spain
M.R. Gómez Soler
Affiliation:
Servicio de Psiquiatría, Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal, Madrid, Spain
A. Regidor Bonafont
Affiliation:
Servicio de Psiquiatría, Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal, Madrid, Spain
P. Sánchez Páez
Affiliation:
Servicio de Psiquiatría, Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal, Madrid, Spain
A. Chinchilla Moreno
Affiliation:
Servicio de Psiquiatría, Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal, Madrid, Spain
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Abstract

Introduction

Suicide is a major and preventable public health problem. Risk factors may vary with age, gender, or ethnic group, being substance abuse one of the most frequent.

Objectives

To investigate the relation of substance related disorder and suicide attempt.

Methods

Review of the suicidal attempts of patients with personal history of substance related disorder attended during the year 2010.

Results

We identified 85 cases.

Alcohol (64″3%) and cocaine (47″7%) were the two most identified substances. Cannabis (17″2%) and heroin (23″06%) were less consumed. Benzodiacepines abuse was very frequent among the patients attended (38″2%).

Previous attempts were found in 43″8% of the patients.

Drug overdose was the most commonly method used (98″4%), especially with benzodiacepines and antidepressants, but non psychiatric drugs were also frequent. Substance overdosage or intoxication was the second most frequent method used (23%), and poisoning the third (9%). Most of times these methods were presented with concomitant drug overdose.

Defenestration threats were very rare (2″34%), and always associated with hospitalization request by the patient.

We did find significant differences when studying triggers (family, partnership, economical or others) compared with non substance abusers suicidal attempts.

Conclusions

  • - Chronic substance misuse and acute substance abuse is associated with a higher risk of suicide, what may be explained by the disinhibiting effects of psychoactive substances.

  • - As benzodiazepine misuse is associated with suicide, special care must be taken when prescribing to at risk patients such as substance abusers

Type
P01-21
Copyright
Copyright © European Psychiatric Association 2011

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