Suicide and Bipolar Disorder

J Clin Psychiatry. 2000;61 Suppl 9:47-51.

Abstract

Suicide, which is both a stereotypic yet highly individualized act, is a common endpoint for many patients with severe psychiatric illness. The mood disorders (depression and bipolar manic-depression) are by far the most common psychiatric conditions associated with suicide. At least 25% to 50% of patients with bipolar disorder also attempt suicide at least once. With the exception of lithium--which is the most demonstrably effective treatment against suicide-remarkably little is known about specific contributions of mood-altering treatments to minimizing mortality rates in persons with major mood disorders in general and bipolar depression in particular. Suicide is usually a manifestation of severe psychiatric distress that is often associated with a diagnosable and treatable form of depression or other mental illness. In a clinical setting, an assessment of suicidal risk must precede any attempt to treat psychiatric illness.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Bipolar Disorder / diagnosis
  • Bipolar Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Bipolar Disorder / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lithium / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / drug therapy
  • Mental Disorders / psychology
  • Mood Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mood Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mood Disorders / psychology
  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychotropic Drugs / therapeutic use
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Substance-Related Disorders / diagnosis
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Suicide / prevention & control
  • Suicide / psychology
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States / epidemiology

Substances

  • Psychotropic Drugs
  • Lithium