What is the role of impulsivity in suicidal behaviors?

Updated: Aug 29, 2019
  • Author: Stephen Soreff, MD; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Answer

In many cases, suicidal behavior results from a person acting impulsively. Burton and colleagues showed that a lack of executive functioning in the form of poor impulse control inhibition represents a suicide risk. Impulsivity can often separate people who just have suicidal ideation from those who actually attempt suicide. [77]

However, Spokas et al have suggested that impulsive attempts have valid significance and are similar to premeditated attempts with regard to completed suicide risk. [78] Hence, an assessment of the patient’s impulse control is critical.


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