Improvement and recovery from suicidal and self-destructive phenomena in treatment-refractory disorders

J Nerv Ment Dis. 2009 Jan;197(1):28-34. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e3181927598.


Long-term data about recovery from suicidal and self-destructive phenomena are limited. We examined these phenomena in a naturalistic, follow-along study of 226 adults with treatment-refractory disorders admitted at the Austen Riggs Center. Follow-along interviews systematically rated suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, self-mutilation, and other self-destructive phenomena. We identified vital status in 98.7%, finding 1 death by suicide. Among 79 who made at least 1 suicide attempt in the 6 months before admission, 61 (77.2%) were estimated to be free of suicidal acts by a median of 7.18 years. Self-mutilation and other self-destructive phenomena showed slightly longer times to recovery. Among 156 individuals with suicidal ideation, 79 (50.6%) attained sustained recovery at a median of 8.69 years. On average 2.9 to 5.2 years were required from the last observed self-destructive event to attain sustained recovery. Most participants showed significant improvement in suicidal phenomena, whereas between 50.6% and 77.2% attained sustained recoveries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / psychology*
  • Mental Disorders / therapy*
  • Recovery of Function
  • Self Mutilation
  • Self-Injurious Behavior* / epidemiology
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data
  • Suicide, Attempted* / statistics & numerical data
  • Treatment Failure
  • Young Adult