An examination of DSM-IV depressive symptoms and risk for suicide completion in major depressive disorder: a psychological autopsy study.J Affect Disord. 2007 Jan; 97(1-3):203-9.JA
It is unclear whether certain DSM-IV depressive symptoms are more prevalent among individuals who die in the context of a major depressive episode and those who do not, whether this is associated with proximal or distal suicide risk, and whether depressive symptoms cluster to indicate suicide risk.
A psychological autopsy method with best informants was used to investigate DSM-IV depressive symptoms among 156 suicides who died in the context of a major depressive episode and 81 major depressive controls.
Suicides' depressive symptoms were more likely to include weight or appetite loss, insomnia, feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt as well as recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal ideation. Fatigue and difficulties concentrating or indecisiveness were less prevalent among depressed suicides. These associations were independent of concomitant axis I and II psychopathology. The concomitant presence of (a) fatigue as well as impaired concentration or indecisiveness and (b) weight or appetite gain and hypersomnia was associated with decreased suicide risk. Inter-episode symptom concordance suggests that insomnia is an immediate indicator of suicide risk, while weight or appetite loss and feelings of worthlessness or guilt are not.
This study employed proxy-based interviews.
We found that discrete DSM-IV depressive symptoms and clusters of depressive symptoms help differentiate depressed individuals who die by suicide and those who do not. Moreover, some DSM-IV depressive symptoms are associated with an immediate risk for suicide, while others may result from an etiology of depression common to suicide without directly increasing suicide risk.