Risk for Suicide in Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic and Nonpsychotic Disorders

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To determine the rate of suicide in young, early phase schizophrenics and other psychotic disorders, and to analyze risk factors for suicide, a large sample of patients was prospectively assessed at index hospitalization and then followed up systematically after discharge. Thirty-six patients committed suicide and these patients were compared with those who did not commit suicide for major diagnostic and prognostic factors.

Results indicated the following: a) During early years, schizophrenics and other types of psychotic patients were more likely to commit suicide than nonpsychotic patients. b) Similarly, among depressives, psychotic depressed patients were more likely to commit suicide than nonpsychotic depressed patients. c) Schizophrenics and other psychotic patients were especially vulnerable to suicide within the first 6 years of their first hospitalization. d) Among the combined sample of psychotic patients (schizophrenic and other psychotic patients), those at greater risk for suicide were unmarried, white, high IQ, male patients with a more gradual onset of disorder and were of “chronic” Research Diagnostic Criteria subtypes.

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