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Clinical and epidemiological aspects of suicide in patients with schizophrenia.

Gómez-Durán, Esperanza L; Martin-Fumadó, Carles; Hurtado-Ruíz, Gemma.
Actas Esp Psiquiatr; 40(6): 333-45, 2012 Nov-Dec.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-23165416
Suicide is a major cause of death among patients with schizophrenia. Suicide phenomenon's characterization is the best available approach for improved prediction and prevention of suicide. Patients at high risk for suicide need a more intensive monitoring and intervention. The aim of this review is to characterize, from a clinical-epidemiological point of view, the phenomenon of completed suicide in schizophrenia. We performed a systematic review to identify the most relevant studies published between 1994 and 2009, by searching on the international database Medline and among previous reviews references. Patients with schizophrenia experience higher mortality rates than the general population, especially due to the suicide. Most patients with schizophrenia who commit suicide are likely to be young and males, with a higher risk around illness onset and hospitalization periods. Previous suicide attempts are an important risk factor for completed suicide. Suicide risk is associated to psychotic positive symptoms, affective symptoms, depression and substance abuse. Treatment adherence is as protective factor. Patients with schizophrenia are likely to commit suicide by violent means. Suicide prevention should focus on treating affective symptoms and syndromes, improving treatment compliance and providing intensive monitoring to those patients at high risk of suicide, specially around hospitalization periods. Further studies are needed to clarify differential characteristics between suicide behaviour and completed suicide.