Study: Teens Who Exhibit Psychotic Symptoms Have Higher Suicide Risk

Jul 2013

Texas suicide lawyerAccording to a recent study conducted by the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland, a link might have been found between adolescents who show psychotic symptoms – particularly those with existing psychopathology – and an increased suicide risk.

At the Law Office of Skip Simpson, our experienced Dallas suicide attorneys understand that the link between treatable mental illness and suicide is well-known. With a strong clinical marker found that links together certain psychological symptoms suicidal thoughts and behaviors, it’s possible that mental health professionals can better serve their patients.


Psychotic Symptoms Found To Indicate Increased Suicidal Thoughts & Behaviors

According to Medscape, the study involved 1,112 school-based adolescents aged 13-16 years and investigated whether the co-occurrence of psychotic symptoms at the start of the study predicted an increase in suicide attempts at 3- and 12-month follow-ups.

What the study found was startling. Teens who reported acute psychotic symptoms had a “10- to 11-fold increased risk for attempted suicide” compared to counterparts who had no psychotic symptoms.

Furthermore, when these psychotic symptoms – hallucinations, delusions, disturbances in thought – are concurrent with existing psychopathologies such as depression and anxiety, the risk further increases. The study reports that adolescents with psychopathology who report psychotic symptoms had nearly a 70-fold increase in their odds of suicidal thoughts, behaviors, and attempts.

With depression and anxiety a major risk factor for suicide, researchers said its prevalence in the population is too high to identify it as a “meaningful group.” Because a much smaller percentage of the population suffering from acute psychotic symptoms and an even smaller percentage suffering from a full-blown psychotic disorder, researchers have suggested that these symptoms are an “under-recognized marker for risk of suicidal behavior.”

New Opportunities For Prevention

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death across the world. With that being said, researchers estimate that a staggering 50% of all patients who die by suicide have contact with a primary care provider within a month before their final attempt. This offers many opportunities for suicide prevention.

This important study illustrates that mental health professionals need to more carefully assess the presence of psychotic symptoms in their patients. When somebody shows signs of psychotic symptoms, they might be at risk to experience increased suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

As the study has shown, when this is the case, help cannot wait.

If you’ve lost a loved one due to suicide, contact the Law Offices of Skip Simpson, dedicated to holding mental health counselors accountable. Call today at (214) 618-8222 for a free case consultation.

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