1 Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria 2009 Vol: 31(3):. DOI: 10.1590/S1516-44462009005000003

Suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in bipolar disorder type I: an update for the clinician

OBJECTIVE: This article reviews the evidence for the major risk factors associated with suicidal behavior in bipolar disorder. METHOD: Review of the literature studies on bipolar disorder, suicidal behavior and suicidal ideation. RESULTS: Bipolar disorder is strongly associated with suicide ideation and suicide attempts. In clinical samples between 14-59% of the patients have suicide ideation and 25-56% present at least one suicide attempt during lifetime. Approximately 15% to 19% of patients with bipolar disorder die from suicide. The causes of suicidal behavior are multiple and complex. Some strong predictors of suicidal behavior have emerged in the literature such as current mood state, severity of depression, anxiety, aggressiveness, hostility, hopelessness, comorbidity with others Axis I and Axis II disorders, lifetime history of mixed states, and history of physical or sexual abuse. CONCLUSION: Bipolar disorder is the psychiatric condition associated with highest lifetime risk for suicide attempts and suicide completion. Thus it is important to clinicians to understand the major risk factors for suicidal behavior in order to choose better strategies to deal with this complex behavior.

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