Suicide Prevention – a Medical Breakthrough?
The author hypothesized, based on research until 1991, that a 5-fold increase in the use of antidepressants might reduce Swedish suicide rates by 25%. A subsequent 3.5-fold increase in the use of antidepressants provided a natural experimental situation to prospectively test the hypothesis. Swedish statistics on suicide, use of antidepressants, unemployment, & alcohol consumption were obtained for 1978-1996. Time-series of the latter variables were compared with suicide rates. Suicide rates decreased in accordance with the a priori hypothesis. This naturalistic study is not conclusive but the increased use of antidepressants appears to be one of the contributing factors to a decrease in the suicide rate. (32 refs.)