General Psychiatric Management for Suicidal Patients, With Remarks on Chronicity: Contending With the Angel of Death

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Abstract

Assessing, managing, and treating suicidal patients, particularly those with chronic suicidality, challenge clinical decision making and emotional self-management in trainees and seasoned practitioners. Educators and trainees have noted needs for additional teaching materials in these areas. This article assists in addressing these gaps. We reviewed diagnostic and phenomenological characteristics encountered in acutely and chronically suicidal patients, their comprehensive assessment, general approaches to management, risk mitigation and safety planning, and psychological and biological interventions. Integrating information from research and clinical experience–based literature, we offer concise guidance on comprehensive psychiatric management for the varieties of acutely and chronically suicidal patients encountered in practice. By actively engaging suicidal patients and their families, systematically attending to warning signs, conducting risk mitigation and safety planning, and using psychological and biological treatments as indicated, clinicians are likely to reduce suicidal ideation, plans, and attempts in patients and might reduce completed suicides.

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