How is the risk of suicide managed in bipolar affective disorder (manic-depressive illness)?

Updated: May 06, 2018
  • Author: Stephen Soreff, MD; Chief Editor: Glen L Xiong, MD  more...
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Answer

A patient with bipolar disorder, especially one in a depressive episode, may present with a significant risk for suicide, especially those with an early onset of symptoms. [77] Serious suicide attempts and specific ideation with plans constitute clear evidence of the need for constant observation and preventive protection; consider referring these individuals to mental health specialty care. [3] Occasionally, depression is so profound that the person cannot function at all; thus, the danger to the person may come from other aspects of the disease. For example, a person in extreme mania who foregoes sleep or food may be in a state of serious exhaustion. Leaving such a person alone would be dangerous and not therapeutic.


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