In honor of national suicide prevention awareness month we are featuring a post on mood disorders and suicide. Mood disorders and suicide co-occur quite commonly, with as much as 60% of successful suicides associated with depression. Mood disorders are more frequently diagnosed than any other mental disorders and are linked with a high risk of suicide. The symptoms associated with mood disorders are wide and varied, like a lack of enjoyment when engaging in hobbies or other supposedly fun activities, being sad all the time, lack of motivation, and difficulty adapting to new situations. Research has revealed that as much as 17% of all individuals go through a period of major depression as some point in their life. The frequency of course differs, but of those people who have experienced an episode of major depression, recurrences commonly follow.
There are many different symptoms associated with bipolar disorders, which include feeling sad and depressed and experiencing mood swings that usually gain in frequency. People suffering from bipolar disorders experience one or more manic episodes in their life. The lifetime prevalence of bipolar disorders is 1.3% to 5% and even higher.
Sixty percent of deaths by suicide and possibly more occur among people suffering from a mood disorders, especially bipolar disorders. More than 80% of people diagnosed with bipolar disorder have had suicidal ideation, attempts or completed suicides. Mood disorders and suicide occur in this population more than any other. Clinical samples show that as many as 60% of patients with bipolar disorder have suicidal tendencies, with approximately 15% to 19% taking their lives. Among those with bipolar disorder, the rate of suicide goes up 25 times as opposed to non-clinical populations. There is no doubt that mood disorders and suicide are associated.
People suffering from a mood disorders are dealing with a number of factors that raise their risk of suicide. These include going through a depressive episode, feeling constantly guilty with little or no hope, suffering from insomnia, lack of appetite, and agitation. With all of this the chances of them taking their life does increase. People suffering from mood disorders are at the highest risk for attempting suicide when they are in the midst of a major depression episode.
There are varied routes from a mood disorder to committing suicide. For example, someone suffering from major depression can also have other risk factors, which include BLPD, PTSD, dependent personality disorder and problems with substance use. When you are diagnosed as suffering from two different disorders simultaneously, this is called a dual diagnosis, as these disorders are co-occurring. A mood disorder co-occurring with a substance abuse is very likely to raise the risk of suicide. Those suffering from bipolar disorder can be dealing with other factors that increase their risk for suicide, like mixed manic/depressive states, being diagnosed early in life, a history of suicide in the family, and alcohol or drug abuse. As you can see, mood disorders and suicide are associated through a number of different pathways, but effective treatment is available to prevent suicide.