New Research Could Help Doctors Prevent Suicides

Cropped SingleCare logo By | October 14, 2015

A new study found significant correlations between certain behaviors in depressed patients and the likelihood of attempted suicide. This comes as a major breakthrough in mental healthcare, as the study findings can help psychiatrists curb rising suicide rates.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death in the United States, at a rate of 12.6 per 100,000 people, and it’s the second-leading cause of death among 15-34 year olds, topped only by unintentional injury (as this table made by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention detail). But with a better understanding of suicidal behaviors, brought on in part by a recently published study’s findings, those rates are primed for a drop in the coming years.

Finding Something Real

Researchers have identified what they call “depressive mixed states” as a key indicator that someone may attempt suicide. Depressive mixed state behavior in patients presents as agitation, impulsiveness, or unnecessary risk-taking along with depression. In fact, according to the study, 40% of patients who displayed depressive mixed states later attempted suicide.

Dr. Dina Popovic, a clinical researcher and psychiatrist in Barcelona, Spain, authored the study, which was collated by researchers from seven different countries across three continents. The research involved over 2,800 patients diagnosed with depression and used clinical evaluations, an important differentiator from many earlier studies of depression.

According to Dr. Popovic, “The strength of this study is that it’s not a clinical trial with ideal patients — it’s a big study from the real world.” Dealing with patients that aren’t “ideal” is the best way to discover every symptom that could contribute to a disease, especially in the case of mental illness.

Symptoms exhibited by those with mixed-episode depression are not currently fully represented in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which can limit a doctor’s or psychiatrists ability to correctly diagnose someone.

In fact, the DSM could only identify 12% of the study’s at-risk patients, while Popovic and her peers correctly identified 40%. Effectively recognizing the symptoms present in those who go on to attempt suicide is a crucial first step in finding proper treatment for the condition as a whole.

Helping You Help Yourself

Of course, a doctor can’t diagnose someone if he or she isn’t a patient. That means if you or somebody you know exhibits signs of depression (listed here by Mayo Clinic), finding medical care is paramount to tackling the illness.

In order to minimize the stress and financial burden of getting the help you need, explore the option of SingleCare. SingleCare helps their members save an average of 48% on mental healthcare, relieving a major stressor attached to finding help. Money shouldn’t be an object when it comes to your own mental health.

SingleCare’s network of psychiatrists and psychologists are here to help you live the best life possible without breaking the bank. SingleCare is free to join, doesn’t include premiums, and offers members significant savings starting with their very first appointment.

(Main image credit: Gerald Gabernig/flickr)