Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Suicide and early psychosis - what are the risk factors?

Suicide is the main cause of premature death among people with schizophrenia. There is some evidence that the risk factors for self-harm may be different for those with schizophrenia compared with other groups and there is some emerging evidence that risk factors for self-harm may alter during the course of a psychotic illness. Suicidal behaviour is more common during the early stages of psychosis and the period of time between the onset of psychotic symptoms and and individual's first contact with mental-health services can be particularly risky. A study of 496 people in South-East London and Nottingham presenting (turning up for treatment) for psychosis over a two-year period found that 11.3% of them had engaged in self-harm since the onset of their psychosis. Being male, being in a higher socio-economic group, depression, a prolonged period of psychosis before seeking treatment and increased insight (consciousness of being unwell) were all associated with an increased risk of self-harm.

Harvey, S.B. ... [et al] - Self-harm in first-episode psychosis British Journal of Psychiatry March 2008, 192(3), 178-184

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