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Our aim was to investigate bipolar patients in order to test the validity of various outcome measures and to identify prognostic predictors for pharmacological treatment.
Material and method
One hundred patients were interviewed using a computerized life-charting program in a descriptive, retrospective analysis. The concept “Burden of illness” was defined as a combination of severity and duration of episodes. Response to treatment was defined as the difference in burden before and after treatment, a low burden during treatment, and freedom of episodes for at least 3 years after insertion of treatment.
The absence of mixed episodes and a high initial burden predicted a good response measured as the difference in burden. If remission for 3 years or a low burden during lithium treatment was used, the absence of rapid cycling and of mixed episodes were the most important predictors. The severity of illness before treatment had no impact.
Discussion and conclusion
We suggest the use of absolute measures of severity during treatment as the most appropriate measure of the outcome. Furthermore, our data provide corroboration that treatment with lithium ameliorates the prognosis of the illness, but that mixed episodes and rapid cycling predict a poorer response to lithium.
It is unclear whether there is a direct link between economic crises and changes in suicide rates.
The Lopez-Ibor Foundation launched an initiative to study the possible impact of the economic crisis on European suicide rates.
Data was gathered and analysed from 29 European countries and included the number of deaths by suicide in men and women, the unemployment rate, the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, the annual economic growth rate and inflation.
There was a strong correlation between suicide rates and all economic indices except GPD per capita in men but only a correlation with unemployment in women. However, the increase in suicide rates occurred several months before the economic crisis emerged.
Overall, this study confirms a general relationship between the economic environment and suicide rates; however, it does not support there being a clear causal relationship between the current economic crisis and an increase in the suicide rate.
Numerous ecological studies have shown an inverse association between antidepressant use and suicide rates and a smaller number of individual-based studies have shown an association between current antidepressant use and reduced suicide risk. Such evidence is often cited in support of the notion that antidepressants prevent suicide. However, more recently, the premises underlying this proposition, namely that suicide is caused by depression and that antidepressants relieve depression, have been challenged and the potential harm caused by antidepressants has been highlighted. In this article, Goran Isacsson and Charles Rich debate with Jon Jureidini and Melissa Raven the motion that the increased use of antidepressants has contributed to the worldwide reduction in suicide rates.
Systematic clinical investigations of consecutive suicides have found psychiatric disorders in 90–95% of subjects (depressive disorder 30–87%).
To investigate use of psychotropics in men and women of different ages who commit suicide.
Results of toxicological screening in 5281 suicides in Sweden 1992–94 were studied.
Psychotropics were detected in 45.3% of the suicides. Antidepressants were detected in 12.4% of the men and 26.2% of the women (7.2% and 14.2%, respectively, of those under 30 years of age). Neuroleptics or antiepileptics (in the absence of antidepressants) were detected in 8.3%, and anxiolytics/hypnotics alone in 20.5% of the subjects. Overdose by an antidepressant was the probable cause of death in 2.1% of the men and 7.9% of the women.
The pattern of psychotropics detected in toxicology was incongruent with the pattern of diagnoses found in the clinical investigations of suicides mentioned above. Depression appears to be undertreated in individuals committing suicide, especially in men and in subjects under 30 years of age.
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