Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sedatives, sleeping pills and suicide

Sedatives and sleeping pills are often prescribed to people with anxiety, depression and sleeping problems. However, a study by researchers from Gothenburg University has found that they could quadruple the risk of suicide among older people. The study compared the medical records of 85 men and women older than 65 who had killed themselves and compared them with a similar group from the general population who had not committed suicide. After adjusting for mental-health problems those people taking sleeping medication were four times more likely to kill themselves. The researchers thought that the drugs themselves could make people more aggressive and impulsive and therefore more likely to kill themselves; that the drugs provided a means with which to commit suicide and that the sleep problems that led people to take the drugs in the first place could make them more suicidal.

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