Suicidal Behaviour in Bipolar Disorder
The Jorvi Bipolar Study (JoBS) is a collaborative ongoing bipolar research project between the Department of Mental Health and Alcohol Research of the National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, and the Department of Psychiatry, Jorvi Hospital, Helsinki University Central Hospital (HUCH), Espoo, Finland. The JoBS is a prospective, naturalistic cohort study of secondary level care psychiatric out-and inpatients with a new episode of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV) bipolar disorder (BD). Altogether, 1630 patients (aged 18-59) years were screened using the Mood Disorder Questionnaire (MDQ) for a possible new episode of DSM-IV BD. 490 patients were interviewed with semi-structured interview [the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Disorders, research version with Psychotic Screen (SCID-I/P)]. 191 patients with new episode of DSM-IV BD were included in the bipolar cohort study. Psychiatric comorbidity was evaluated using semi-structured interviews. At 6- and 18-month follow-up, the interviews were repeated and life-chart methodology was used to integrate all available information about nature and duration of all different phases. Suicidal behaviour was examined both at intake and follow-up by psychometric scale [Scale for Suicidal Ideation (SSI)], interviewer s questions and medical and psychiatric records. The aim of this thesis was to evaluate prevalence of suicidal behaviour and incidence of suicide attempts, and examine the wide range of risk factors for attempted suicide both, at intake and follow-up, in representative secondary-level sample of psychiatric in- and outpatients with BD. In this study suicidal behaviour was common among psychiatric patients with BD. During the episode when patients were included into cohort study (index episode), 20% of the patients had attempted suicide and 61% had suicidal ideation. Severity of depressive episode and hopelessness were independent risk factors for suicidal ideation, whereas hopelessness, comorbid personality disorder and previous suicide attempt predicted suicide attempts during the index episode. There were no differences in prevalence of suicidal behaviour between bipolar I and II disorder; the risk factors were overlapping but not identical. During the index episode, suicide attempts took place during depressive, mixed and depressive mixed phases. Furthermore, there were marked differences regarding level of suicidal ideation during different phases, with the highest levels during the mixed phases of the illness. Hopelessness was independently associated with suicidal behaviour during the depressive phase. A subjective rating of severity of depression (Beck Depression Inventory) and younger age predicted suicide attempts during mixed phases. During the 18-month follow-up 20% of patients attempted suicide. Previous suicide attempts, hopelessness, depressive phase at index episode and younger age at intake were independent risk factors for suicide attempts during follow-up. Taken altogether, 55% patients attempted suicide before index episode, during index episode or during follow-up. The incidence of suicide attempts was 37-fold during combined mixed and depressive mixed states and 18-fold during major depressive phase as compared with other phases. Prior suicide attempt and time spent in combined mixed phases – mixed and depressive mixed – and depressive phases independently predicted the suicide attempt during follow-up. More than half of the patients have attempted suicide during their lifetime, a finding which highlights the public health importance of suicidal behaviour in bipolar disorder. Clinically, it is crucial to recognize BD and manage the mixed and depressive phases of bipolar patients fast and effectively, as time spent in depressive and mixed phases involves a remarkably high risk of suicide attempts.