Suicidal ideation and risk levels among primary care patients with uncomplicated depression.
PURPOSE: We investigated the prevalence, severity, and course of passive and active suicidal ideation occurring in primary care patients with an uncomplicated depressive disorder. METHODS: We studied suicidal ideation experienced by patients recruited in 60 primary care practices participating in a randomized controlled trial of depression management. Risk levels associated with suicidal ideation and plans were determined by a 2-stage procedure using pertinent items of the Patient Health Questionnaire-9, the Hopkins Symptom Checklist-20, and the Cornell structured assessment interview and management algorithm. RESULTS: Of the 761 patients whom physicians judged in need of treatment for a clinical depression, 405 (53%) were experiencing uncomplicated dysthymia, major depression, or both. Among these depressed patients, about 90% had no risk or a low risk of self-harm based on the presence and nature of suicidal ideation; the rest had an intermediate risk. Almost all patients who were initially classified at the no or low risk levels remained at these levels during the subsequent 6 months. The incidence of suicidal ideation at a risk level requiring the physician's immediate attention in this no- or low-risk subgroup was 1.1% at 3 months and 2.6% at 6 months. CONCLUSIONS: Almost all patients with uncomplicated dysthymia, major depression, or both acknowledging suicidal ideation of the minimal risk type when initially assessed maintained this minimal risk status during the subsequent 6 months.
Schulberg, HC; Lee, PW; Bruce, ML; Raue, PJ; Lefever, JJ; Williams, JW; Dietrich, AJ; Nutting, PA
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