Attempted suicide: Epidemiological changes between 1969-1996. A retrospective study of 1.150 cases

M. C. Tejedor Azpeitia, A. M. Díaz Pérez, E. Álvarez Martínez, J. J. Castillón Zazurca, J. M. Pericay Hosta

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    Background: Over the last 40 years, suicide attempts have become a health problem of epidemic proportions. In order to update preventive measures, we describe the variations observed in the epidemiologic pattern of patients who attempted suicide between 1969-96. Method: A total of 1,150 suicide attempts seen in the Emergency Service of a General Hospital during this period was analyzed. The study protocol included: sociodemographic data, psychiatric antecedents and diagnosis, suicide behaviour and triggering life-events. Results: Throughout the 27 years of the study the most relevant changes in the suicide-attempt population were: progressive levelling between males and females and an increase in antecedents and previous psychiatric treatments (11% vs 74%). The distribution of the psychiatric diagnoses changed in its relative frequency. A dramatic increase was observed in the number of patients who repeated the suicide attempt (22% vs 50%). Triggering life-events tended to vary in relation to sociological changes. Conclusions: Troughout the study period we observed a progressive increase of psychiatric diagnoses in suicidal patients. Therapeutic programs are needed to prevent repetition of suicide attempts, both during periods of psychopathologic exacerbation and during psychosocial adaptation crises triggered by life-events.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)292-297
    JournalActas Espanolas de Psiquiatria
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 1999


    • Attempted suicide
    • Emergency Services
    • Epidemiology
    • Life change events
    • Psychiatric
    • Trends


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