What is the suicide rate among persons with depressive disorder (clinical depression)?

Updated: Mar 28, 2019
  • Author: Jerry L Halverson, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Answer

Depression plays a role in more than one half of all suicide attempts, whereas the lifetime risk of suicide among patients with untreated depressive disorder is nearly 20%. [69] According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the United States in 2009, accounting for 36,909 deaths; it was the second leading cause of death in people 25-34 years of age, the third leading cause in people aged 10-24 years, and the fourth leading cause at ages 35-54. [70]

However, despite these data and the fact that depression is more often diagnosed in women, the highest suicide rate is in men older than 75 years (see the graph below); more men than women die from suicide by a factor of 4.5:1. White men complete more than 78% of all suicides, and 56% of suicide deaths in males involve firearms. Poisoning is the predominant method among females. Attempted suicide is more frequent in women.

From 1991-2006, the suicide rate was consistently From 1991-2006, the suicide rate was consistently higher among males. Suicide rates declined among both sexes from 1991-2000; the rate among males decreased from 24.64 to 20.67 suicides per 100,000 and 5.48 to 4.62 suicides per 100,000 among females. From 2000-2006, however, the suicide rates gradually increased among females. Note: All rates are age-adjusted to the standard 2000 population. Rates based on less than 20 deaths are statistically unreliable. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National suicide statistics at a glance: Trends in suicide rates among persons ages 10 years and older, by sex, United States, 1991-2006. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/suicide/statistics/trends01.html. Accessed: May 5, 2010.

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