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This study examined the pattern of medical utilization and the distribution of comorbidities shortly before death among adolescents who died from suicide and compared these data with those of living controls.
From Taiwan's National Health Insurance Research Database, this study identified adolescents aged 10–19 years who died from suicide (n = 935) between 1 January 2000, and 31 December 2016, by linking each patient with the national mortality database. The researchers conducted a nested case–control study through risk set sampling, and for each case, 20 age- and sex-matched controls (n = 18 700) were selected from the general population. The researchers applied conditional logistic regression to investigate differences in medical utilization and physical and psychiatric comorbidities between cases and controls.
Cases had a higher proportion of contact with the psychiatric department but a similar proportion of contact with any non-psychiatric medical department within 1 year before suicide compared with controls. There were 18.6% of adolescent suicide victims who only had contacted with a psychiatric department 3 months before suicide. Moreover, cases had a higher proportion of contact with non-psychiatric services within 3 months before suicide, particularly with emergency, surgery, and internal medicine departments. Cases had higher risks of several psychiatric disorders and physical illnesses, including heart diseases, pneumonia, and ulcer disease, than did controls.
The findings of increased medical utilization and higher risks of physical and psychiatric comorbidities in adolescent suicide victims are crucial for developing specific interventions to prevent suicide in this population.
Evidence on sex-specific incidence and comorbidity risk factors of suicide among patients with bipolar disorder is scarce. This study investigated the sex-specific risk profiles for suicide among the bipolar disorder population in terms of incidence, healthcare utilization and comorbidity.
Using data from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2016, this nationwide cohort study included patients with bipolar disorder (N = 46 490) and individuals representative of the general population (N = 185 960) matched by age and sex at a 1:4 ratio. Mortality rate ratios (MRRs) of suicide were calculated between suicide rates of bipolar disorder cohort and general population. In addition, a nested case–control study (1428 cases died by suicide and 5710 living controls) was conducted in the bipolar disorder cohort to examine the sex-specific risk of healthcare utilization and comorbidities.
Suicide risk was considerably higher in the cohort (MRR = 21.9) than in the general population, especially among women (MRR = 35.6). Sex-stratified analyses revealed distinct healthcare utilization patterns and physical comorbidity risk profiles between the sexes. Although female patients who died by suicide had higher risks of nonhypertensive cardiovascular disease, pneumonia, chronic kidney disease, peptic ulcer, irritable bowel syndrome, and sepsis compared to their living counterparts, male patients who died by suicide had higher risks of chronic kidney disease and sepsis compared to the living controls.
Patients with bipolar disorder who died by suicide had sex-specific risk profiles in incidence and physical comorbidities. Identifying these modifiable risk factors may guide interventions for suicide risk reduction.
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