Year: 2023 Source: Current Psychiatry Reports. (2016). 18, 88. DOI: 10.1007/s11920-016-0715-0 SIEC No: 20231950

Suicidal behavior is strongly associated with depression, especially if accompanied by behavioral activation, dysphoria, or agitation. It may respond to some treatments, but the design of scientifically sound, ethical trials to test for therapeutic effects on suicidal behavior is highly challenging. In bipolar disorder, and possibly also unipolar major depression, an underprescribed medical intervention with substantial evidence of preventive effects on suicidal behavior is long-term treatment with lithium. It is unclear whether this effect is specifically antisuicidal or reflects beneficial effects of lithium on depression, mood instability, and perhaps aggression and impulsivity. Antisuicidal effects of anticonvulsant mood stabilizers (carbamazepine, lamotrigine, valproate) appear to be less than with lithium. Further evaluation is needed for potential antisuicidal effects of atypical antipsychotics with growing evidence of efficacy in depression, particularly acute bipolar depression, while generally lacking risk of inducing agitation, mania, or mood instability. Short-term and long-term value and safety of antidepressants are relatively secure for unipolar depression but uncertain and poorly tested for bipolar depression; their effects on suicidal risk in unipolar depression may be age-dependent. Sedative anxiolytics are virtually unstudied as regards suicidal risks. Adequate management of suicidal risks in mood disorder patients requires comprehensive, clinically skillful monitoring and timely interventions.