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Lifetime suicide rates in treated schizophrenia: 1875–1924 and 1994–1998 cohorts compared

  • D. Healy (a1), M. Harris (a1), R. Tranter (a1), P. Gutting (a1), R. Austin (a1), G. Jones-Edwards (a1) and A. P. Roberts (a1)...

Abstract

Background

Recent interest in suicide rates in schizophrenia has been considerable.

Aims

To establish the lifetime suicide rate from the pre-chlorpromazineera and to compare this with recent lifetime suicide rates for schizophrenia.

Method

We have compared suicide and suicide attempt rates for 741 admissions for schizophrenia and 1303 admissions for psychoses to the North Wales Asylum between 1875 and 1924, with first admissions for psychosis in North West Wales between 1994 and 1998.

Results

The suicide rate in schizophrenia between 1875 and 1924 was 20 per 100 000 hospital years, a lifetime rate of less than 0.5%. The suicide rate for all psychoses was 16 per 100 000 hospital years. Current rates of suicide for schizophrenia and other psychoses appear 20-fold higher.

Conclusions

These findings point to an increase in suicide rates for patients with schizophrenia.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

Dr D. Healy, North Wales Department of Psychological Medicine, Hergest Unit, Bangor LL57 2PW, UK. Tel: +44 (0) 124 838 4452; fax: +44 (0) 124 837 1397; e-mail: Healy_Hergest@compuserve.com

Footnotes

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See invited commentary, pp. 229–230, this issue.

Declaration of interest

D.H. has links with all major pharmaceutical companies and has been an expert witness in legal cases involving psychotropic drugs. A. P. R. and R. T. have been consultants for or received educational support from most major pharmaceutical companies.

Footnotes

References

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Lifetime suicide rates in treated schizophrenia: 1875–1924 and 1994–1998 cohorts compared

  • D. Healy (a1), M. Harris (a1), R. Tranter (a1), P. Gutting (a1), R. Austin (a1), G. Jones-Edwards (a1) and A. P. Roberts (a1)...

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Lifetime suicide rates in treated schizophrenia: 1875–1924 and 1994–1998 cohorts compared

  • D. Healy (a1), M. Harris (a1), R. Tranter (a1), P. Gutting (a1), R. Austin (a1), G. Jones-Edwards (a1) and A. P. Roberts (a1)...
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