Attempted Method Predicts Later Successful Suicide

Attempts involving hanging, guns, drowning, gassing, jumping tied to later successful suicide
By Monica Smith
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, July 14 (HealthDay News) -- The method a person chooses to attempt suicide appears to be predictive of whether they will attempt suicide again and succeed, with attempts involving hanging, firearms or explosives, drowning, gassing, or jumping from a height at least moderately associated with later successful suicide, according to research published July 13 in BMJ.

Bo Runeson, M.D., of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues examined data on 48,649 people hospitalized after a suicide attempt between 1973 and 1982 and followed up for 21 to 31 years to look for an association between the method of attempted suicide and the likelihood of later successful suicide.

The researchers found that, between 1973 and 2003, 5,740 (12 percent) of those studied committed suicide, most using the same method with which they attempted suicide initially. Poisoning was the most common method attempted (84 percent), but the worst prognosis was for those who initially tried hanging, strangulation, or suffocation, who were six times more likely to later successfully complete a suicide. Successful suicide was also 1.8 to 4.0 times higher in people who chose gassing, jumping, gunshot, drowning, or using explosives.

"The method used at an unsuccessful suicide attempt predicts later completed suicide, after adjustment for sociodemographic confounding and psychiatric disorder. Intensified aftercare is warranted after suicide attempts involving hanging, drowning, firearms or explosives, jumping from a height, or gassing," the authors write.

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