Toronto: People with schizophrenia are six times more likely to have attempted suicide than those without the mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels and behaves, a new study says.
“Even after taking into account most of the known risk factors for suicide attempts, those with schizophrenia had six times the odds of having attempted suicide in comparison to those without schizophrenia,” said lead study author Esme Fuller-Thomson, professor at University of Toronto.
The researchers found that individuals with schizophrenia who reported that they had been physically abused during their childhood were at even higher risk of having attempted suicide.
The study examined a representative sample of 21,744 Canadians, of whom 101 reported they had been diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Data were drawn from the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey-Mental Health.
“When we focused only on the 101 individuals with schizophrenia, we found that women and those with a history of drug or alcohol abuse and/or major depressive disorder were much more likely to have attempted suicide,” study co-author Bailey Hollister, recent social work graduate from University of Toronto.
The findings were published in the journal Schizophrenia Research and Treatment.
“Clearly those with schizophrenia are an extremely vulnerable population. Knowledge of the added risk of suicide attempts associated with childhood abuse and substance abuse could help clinicians improve targeting and outreach to this population,” Fuller-Thomson pointed out.