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Suicide and Mood Disorders

When considering suicidal behaviors among all age groups, substance use and mental disorders are recognized widely are critical risk factors. The risk of suicide is increased greatly by having both mood disorders and substance use disorder. Some information on the risk of suicide and mood disorders are presented below.

Mood disorder is probably the most potentially life-threatening psychiatric disorder and is also one of the most common. Symptoms including depressed mood, lack of energy, sadness, appetite and sleep disturbance and loss of interest in activities that were once pleasurable characterize unipolar disorder or major depression or major depressive disorder. An estimated 12 to 17 percent of the population will experience, within their lifetime, a major depressive episode. More often than not, if an individual experiences one episode of major depression, a person is more likely to experience several episodes in their lifetime, though it is possible to only experience one episode. Because mood disorders are so common, suicide and mood disorders are a silent epidemic.

Dramatic mood swings characterize manic-depressive disorder, or bipolar disorders. The swings normally go from an energetic and overly “high” (mania) mood to a profound sense of hopelessness and sadness (depression). The estimated lifetime prevalence of bipolar disorders is 1.3 to 5%. Type I bipolar disorder is when a person has had a manic episode and  periods of major depression, while Bipolar II has had high energy levels with impulsiveness that do not reach  the criteria for a manic episode, and alternates with episodes of major depression. People with bipolar disorders, especially during depressed states, also contribute to the increased rates of suicide and mood disorders.

Patients with mood disorder account for more than 60% of suicidal deaths. Bipolar disorders are strongly associated with suicidal behaviors and thoughts; hence suicide risk is especially high among these individuals. Over 80% of bipolar disorder patients either have suicidal ideation alone or both suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. Clinical samples reveal that 25 to 56 percent of patients attempt suicide a minimum of once in their lifetime, while 14 to 59 percent have suicide ideation. About 15 – 19% of patients diagnosed with bipolar disorders actually die from suicide, a rate that is over 25 times that of the general population. Of all diagnostic categories, suicide and mood disorders are among the most frequent.

The risks for suicide among patients with moods disorders can be increased by several factors. Included among these factors are profound depressive episodes characterized by appetite and weight loss, insomnia, agitation, a belief that there aren’t enough reasons for living, feelings of guilt, hopelessness, helplessness, thoughts of suicide and possibly a recent attempt at suicide. It is almost exclusively during a severe, acute major depression that suicidal behaviors among mood disorder patients occur. This is why suicide and mood disorders are so commonly associated together.

Some other risk factors for suicide and mood disorders are other comorbid psychiatric conditions with the inclusion of substance use disorders, borderline personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Abuse of alcohol and/or drugs, presence of mixed affective states, increasing severity of affective disorders, early onset of bipolar disorders, and family history of suicide are among factors that further increase the risk for suicide and mood disorders.

Because our treatment for depression relies on evidence based practices, our Intensive Outpatient Program shares many common methods with other successful treatment methods.  The foundation of our treatment program for relies on the principles of the stages of change, cognitive behavioral therapy, solution focused treatment, skills training and identifying repetitive dysfunctional behavioral relationship patterns to promote recovery from depression and other mental health disorders.  In Tennessee, about 3.7% of all adults will have serious thoughts of suicide.  Furthermore, less half of all individuals with any mental illness in Tennessee will receive mental health treatment. Our Intensive Outpatient Program in Memphis, TN has been proven to be effective in the treatment of mood disorders in six peer reviewed treatment outcome studies.   Our treatment center provides services to those who need more treatment than one hour a week, but less than 24 hour care, by providing three hours of treatment per day, three to five days per week, in an intensive outpatient setting.  It is also important to keep in mind that women and men often experience depression differently and therefore the presence of depression may also appear differently based on gender. If you or a loved one is showing signs of depression or anxiety, they should be assessed by a trained mental health professional who can help design a treatment plan for depression that can result in recovery.  Treatment for mood disorders and anxiety can be highly successful and people who have completed our program have resulted in our treatment program receiving very highly consumer satisfaction scores and reviewsCall us at 901-682-6136 to schedule an appointment.