Study helps better understand the development of adolescent brain
For people with traumatic brain injury, epilepsy, or multiple sclerosis, had twice the suicide rate of those with no neurological disorders.
“There may be several and co-existing explanations for the excess suicide rate. People may have difficulties understanding and coming to terms with the consequences of a newly diagnosed chronical disorder. In addition, mental disorders as well as social and relationship factors may play a role,” Dr. Elsebeth Stenager, a professor in social psychiatry at the University of Southern Denmark, said.
The researchers also believe that undiagnosed neurological disorders may contribute to a higher risk of suicide. The increased risk may appear in various stages of disease development. For instance, those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia have 2 to 3 times higher suicide rates during the first three months after diagnosis. Those who were diagnosed with dementia a year ago had lower suicide rates.
“In Denmark between 1980 and 2016, there was a significantly higher rate of suicide among those with a diagnosed neurological disorder than persons not diagnosed with a neurological disorder. However, the absolute risk difference was small,” the researchers concluded in the study. Study implications
With the new data, it has been shown that neurological disorders may increase the risk of suicide. It’s important to impose preventive measures by helping the patients undergo therapy and counseling, especially discussing their experiences while having the disorder.
The study has many limitations, such as those individuals who were diagnosed before 1977 were not included in the study, primary care diagnoses were not included, and some suicide deaths that were under-recorded or not recorded at all.
The research team believes that the study will help build a basis for future studies to determine how these risk factors to be addressed. It’s important to identify which disorders can be addressed with preventive measures.
Suicide is becoming a global problem, affecting people from all walks of life. It’s important to determine the common causes and triggers of suicide to properly address them and prevent deaths. Journal reference:
Erlangsen A, Stenager E, Conwell Y, et al. Association Between Neurological Disorders and Death by Suicide in Denmark. JAMA. 2020;323(5):444–454. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.21834
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