Monday, November 26, 2012

Many Youth With Bipolar Illness Will Attempt Suicide

Almost one-fifth of youngsters with bipolar disorder will make a suicide attempt. Two red flags at intake are a family history of depression and depression severity; three causes for concern over the short term are persistent depression, substance abuse, and mixed bipolar episodes. These findings, obtained in a five-year prospective study, are reported in the November Archives of General Psychiatry. The lead scientist was Tina Goldstein, Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh.

"I think it's an excellent study," Paula Clayton, M.D., medical director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, said in an interview with Psychiatric News. Another valuable finding to emerge from the study, she believes, is that more than half the subjects were on psychotropic medications when they made their suicide attempts. The implication is thus "that treatment wasn't enough to prevent them from making an attempt. It was maybe too much, too little, or the wrong treatment.... [So if a child with bipolar disorder] makes a suicide attempt, then I think we should reexamine the medications."

Information about managing the care of children with bipolar disorder can be found in American Psychiatric Publishing's Clinical Manual for Management of Bipolar Disorder in Children and Adolescents and in the just-published Clinical Manual of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, Second Edition. Click here and here to purchase those volumes.
(Image: littleny/


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