Background: Attempted suicide remains difficult for clinicians to predict with some established risk factors. We investigate the detailed characteristics of attempted suicide especially according to age and methods of suicide attempts.
Methods: A retrospective study was conducted to evaluate patients who visited the emergency department due to attempted suicide. A retrospective medical record review of all patients who presented to the emergency department (ED) of two tertiary teaching hospitals in Korea after suicide attempt between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2017 was performed. Demographic information and detailed variables (methods and reasons of suicide attempts and variables regarding reattempts) were investigated. Total participants were classified into 3 groups according to age, young group, middle aged group and the older group, and each characteristics were compared.
Results: A total of 3698 patients were enrolled in this study. Deliberate self-poisoning (DSP) was the most common method of attempted suicide (66.5%) followed by cutting (24.4%), hanging (7.9%), falling (2.6%), and drowning (1.1%). In patients who had previous suicide attempts (n = 1029, 27.8%), attempted methods were likely to be concordant with previous attempted methods. The most common reason for suicide attempts was interpersonal relationship issues followed by socio-economic reasons. Older patients (n = 412, 11.2%) were significantly different from other 2 groups (n = 3286, 88.8%) regarding gender, suicide re-attempt, occupation, alcohol co-ingestion, previous psychiatric history, and discharge outcomes (all p-values < 0.001). Especially, in older patients, use of critical method and reason of physical illness were more common.
Conclusion: Our findings indicated that people who attempted suicide might have different sociodemographic and clinical factors depending on age group. Depending on age, it is necessary to apply additional suicide intervention programs in different ways.