People suffering from schizophrenia are six times more likely to attempt suicides, says a recent study by the University of Toronto (U of T). The researchers also found that schizophrenics who have been abused as a child are five times more likely to attempt suicide.
A meta-analysis by the researchers estimated that one in every 20 individuals suffering from schizophrenia will commit suicide. In fact, the odds of suicide attempts among people with schizophrenia were six times higher. The study, published in the journal Schizophrenia Research and Treatment in 2016, stated that suicides by schizophrenics are attempted at a younger age in comparison to suicides attempted by those without the disorder.
Highlights of the study
The study analyzed a sample size of 21,744 community-dwelling Canadians, of which 101 were diagnosed with schizophrenia.
The sample size data was drawn from the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey-Mental Health (CCHS-MH). The CCHS-MH is a cross-sectional survey that collects information about the factors, influences, and processes that contribute to mental health through a multidisciplinary approach focusing on health, social, and economic determinant.
The study stated that the lifetime prevalence of suicides among schizophrenics was 39.2 percent as compared to 2.8 percent of those not suffering from the disorder. Some 33 percent or one-third of males suffering from schizophrenia had attempted suicide in contrast with 2.2 percent of males without schizophrenia.
Almost half of the schizophrenic women, (47.3 percent) had attempted suicide in comparison to 3.5 percent of women who did not have this disorder. Previous studies have also estimated the prevalence of suicide attempts in individuals with schizophrenia to range from 20 to 40 percent.
The relationship between schizophrenia and suicide attempts can be due to several factors, such as substance use, depression, anxiety, socioeconomic status and family or professional problems.
The analysis suggests that 58 percent of people attempted suicides due to mental health factors such as depression and anxiety which were prevalent among schizophrenics. This was followed by childhood adversities at 20 percent and substance use at 18 percent. All the factors together accounted for 63 percent of the schizophrenia-suicide association.
Co-author Bailey Hollister, a recent U of T social work graduate, said, “When we focused only on the 101 individuals with schizophrenia, we found that women and those with a history of drug or alcohol abuse and/or major depressive disorder were much more likely to have attempted suicide.”
However, the researchers also suggested that an elaborate study can define the intricacies of the relationship between suicide and schizophrenia.
Treatment for schizophrenia
It is important to rule out other illnesses, as sometimes it is difficult to distinguish one mental disorder from another due to overlapping symptoms. As a result, it is very important to seek specialized treatments. Current treatment methods are based on both clinical research and experience, a combination of medications and psychotherapies.
If you or your loved one is showing symptoms of any mental illnesses, seek medical help immediately. The California Mental Health Helpline can help you get treatment options best suited to your condition. Please chat online or call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-559-3923 to find a reliable and effective facility.