Year: 1999 Source: Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, v.60, suppl.2, (1999), p.53-56 SIEC No: 20011551

Patients with bipolar disorder have a high risk of completing suicide but determining the exact risk is complicated. For many years, the lifetime suicide risk in bipolar disorder was accepted as 15%, but recent studies have suggested the lifetime suicide risk may be lower. The group of bipolar patients at highest risk of suicide are young men who are in an early phase of the illness, espcially those who have made a previous suicide attempt, those abusing alcohol, & those recently discharged from the hospital. The risk is also increased in patients who are in the depressed phase of bipolar illness, who have mixed states, or who have psychotic mania. Lithium prophylaxis appears to decrease suicide attempts. (19 refs.)