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Physical disease among 21 suicide cases: Interviews of relatives and friends

Author(s): Stensman, R., SundqvistStensman, U.

Journal/Book: Scand J Soc Med. 1996; 24: PO Box 2959 Toyen, Journal Division, Customer Service, N-0608 Oslo, Norway. Scandinavian University Press. 253-258.

Abstract: In an earlier study made in Uppsala, it was found that in 17% of suicide cases there was a correlation between the suicidal act and serious physical disease. To obtain a deeper knowledge of this, an interview study among relatives and/or friends of 21 patients who had committed suicide was performed. Variables studied were: demographic data, somatic diagnoses, psychiatric diagnoses, contact with the medical sector, earlier suicidal signals, and the correlation between the suicidal act and the physical disease. The provision of inadequate medical treatment was sought. The persons who had committed suicide were allocated to one of three groups according to the degree of correlation between suicidal act and physical disease. ''Very strong'' correlation was found for five persons, ''rather strong'' for nine persons, and ''weak'' for five persons. We found that physical disease was seldom decisive for the suicidal act. Medical treatment was experienced as inadequate in nine cases. Since there is reason to believe that physical disease is an important complicating risk factor for suicide, it is important to be aware of anxiety in patients and their relatives, give plenty of time for information, show empathy and give the care-providers a sense of security to avoid suffering and reduce suicidal acts.

Note: Article SundqvistStensman U, Univ Uppsala, Akad Sjukhuset, Dept Psychiat, S-75185 Uppsala, SWEDEN

Keyword(s): suicide; physical disease; CANCER-PATIENTS; CHRONIC PAIN; VICTIMS; SWEDEN; RISK

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