Significance of depression and schizophrenia for suicide: a review of the literature

Milda Musneckytė1, Paulina Abraitytė1, Tomas Staniulis1

 1Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Medical Academy, Faculty of Medicine, Kaunas, Lithuania

People with diagnosed mental disorders have increased risk of suicide. The relevance of suicide problem these days is undeniable. Suicide is the second most common death cause for people aged 18 – 29, 1,4% of world population died from suicide, suicide is 18th most common death cause worldwide. Most of suicides worldwide are related to major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, psychoactive substance abuse. Depression is the most common mental disorder among people who committed suicide. Patients who have depression with comorbidity disorders (psychoactive substance abuse, anxiety disorder, personality disorders), mental disorders or suicides in family history have increased suicide risk. Substance abuse and depression comorbidity is one of the most important factors provoking suicide. Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe mental disorder with a genetic and neurobiological basis. 1% of population worldwide is diagnosed with schizophrenia, schizophrenia onset is usually experienced by adolescents or young adults, men are more likely to develop schizophrenia symptoms compared to women. The diagnosis of schizophrenia is usually based on an assessment of positive and negative symptoms. Schizophrenia diagnosed patients tend to choose more lethal suicide methods and are 20 – 50 times more likely to commit suicide compared to general population, 25 – 50% of schizophrenia patients have at least one time attempted suicide. It is important to differentiate self – dangerous behavior caused by psychosis from the threat of suicide. Proper administration and usage of antipsychotic drugs, psychosocial assistance (psychotherapy, trainings about disorder), empathy and support from family members are essential parts of suicide prevention in schizophrenia diagnosed patients. Protective factors (environmental, bio-psychosocial, socio-cultural) are also important in preventing suicide. Education of general practitioners, psychiatrists and medical staff about depression and schizophrenia related suicide also plays important role in suicide prevention.

 Keywords: suicide, depression, schizophrenia, mental disorders, suicide prevention.