04-05 Controlling impulsivity essential for preventing suicide in patients with bipolar disorder

Posted in Bipolar disorder, Depression, Mental Health Disorder

Controlling impulsivity essential for preventing suicide  in patients with bipolar disorder

Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for over one percent of all deaths. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) highlighted that around 505,507 people visited a hospital for injuries due to self-harm. In 2016, it is estimated—based on the 2016 National Survey of Drug Use and Mental Health (NSDUH)—that 0.5 percent of American adults attempted suicide at least once. Around 30 to 70 percent of suicide victims were afflicted by major depression or bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder.

Research has constantly shown a strong link between suicide and depression, with two-third of the people succumbing to suicide tackling an existing mental illness or substance abuse on a daily basis. Additionally, many studies have found that one-third to four-fifths of all suicide attempts are impulsive. Given the multidimensional nature of impulsivity, it is reasonable to think that specific types of impulsive manifestation would be more related to any kind of suicidal behavior or ideation.

Over the last few decades, the relationship between impulsivity and suicide has been largely investigated and a strong evidence corroborates a strong association between them.  A study  highlighted that suicidal behavior intrinsically links to a person’s emotional state and psychiatric disorders. Another study conducted in 2012 emphasized that comorbid complications, including depressive disorders, among patients escalate the risk of suicidal ideation. Similarly, Bipolar disorder (BD) has been significantly associated with a higher frequency of attempted suicide than most other psychiatric disorders.

Research shows link between impulsivity and suicidal attempts

In a recent study, published in Comprehensive Psychiatry, scientists attempted to investigate the association between inhibition, decision-making, impulsivity and the history of suicide attempts in people suffering from BD or major depressive disorder (MDD) to identify which of these executive functions have a close relationship with suicide.

The study comprised two groups of patients with BD and MDD and around 80 patients in the control group matched by age and education. Of the patients with mood disorders, around 26 had at least once attempted suicide previously and another 26 had not previously attempted suicide. Each participant completed behavioral and self-report measures of decision-making and inhibitory control. The results were then compared with different groups.

Compared to those in control groups, participants with BD and MDD who had attempted suicide earlier exhibited difference in cognitive performance. Results showed that the participants with mood disorders and a history of suicide attempt exhibited significantly higher motor and attentional impulsivity than the participants with mood disorders without a history of suicide attempt and control patients. After regression analysis, only motor impulsivity was a significant predictor of a history of suicide attempt. Therefore, the need of the hour is to implement effective interventions to reduce impulsivity in clinical populations at a higher risk for suicide.

You are not alone in the struggle against mood disorders

Gaining a better understanding of the brain mechanisms that cause impulsivity could lead to effective treatment of these disorders. Among all, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), a type of talk therapy that assists patients in managing problem by changing the way they think and behave, helps in the improvement of symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders, as proven by many studies. Similarly, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), a type of therapy developed to help people with borderline personality disorder (BPD), can effectively reduce suicidal tendencies.

If you or a loved one is showing the symptoms of impulsivity, connect with the Depression Treatment Centers of California to know about the best. You can chat online or call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-678-0400 to get in touch with our trained professionals and know more about the finest residential treatment centers for depression.

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