Serum cholesterol and suicide in the first episode psychosis: A preliminary study.
Shrivastava, A., Johnston, M., Campbell, R., De Sousa, A. & Shah, N.
Background: Low levels of cholesterol have been described in suicide behavior including among those individuals who have an increased tendency for impulsivity. Violent suicide attempters show significantly lower cholesterol levels than nonviolent suicide attempters. The suicide rate is particularly high in the prodromal and early phase of schizophrenia. It is unclear if there is a psychopathological relationship between early psychosis, suicide, and cholesterol levels. The present study examines levels of cholesterol and suicide behavior in a cohort of early psychosis.
Methodology: Sixty admitted patients with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, diagnosis of nonaffective schizophrenia spectrum disorder (early psychosis) were assessed in a naturalistic cross-sectional, cohort study. Psychopathology was assessed with the Positive and Negative Symptom Scale for Schizophrenia (PANSS), Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, and Scale for Impact of Suicidality–Management, Assessment and Planning of Care (SIS-MAP). Serum levels of cholesterol were estimated in the cohort as well. The findings were analyzed for a clinical correlation of cholesterol levels, suicidal attempters, and psychopathology.
Results: Out of 60 patients, 13 patients had a suicide attempt in the recent past. No serum cholesterol abnormality (3.7 ± 1.2 mmol/L) was observed in patients as a group and those with low suicidality (SIS-MAP <17, serum cholesterol: 4.1 ± 1.3 mmol/L). However, low levels of cholesterol were observed in a subgroup with severe suicidality (SIS-MAP >33; serum cholesterol: 3.5 ± 1.4 mmol/L). Females with moderate suicidality showed statistically significant lower cholesterol levels than males (P = 0.047).
Conclusions: The study suggests lower levels of cholesterol in patients of psychosis with severe suicidal thoughts and depression in early psychosis. More research is required in this field to determine the neurochemistry of suicide behavior in psychosis and its significance in the prediction of suicidal behavior.