Suicide risk in neurological patients


Neurological diseases are the leading cause of disability and the second leading cause of death worldwide.

Physical and psychological pain, despair, and disconnection with the environment are observed after the diagnosis of numerous neurological processes, particularly neurodegenerative diseases.

All this leads to a higher risk of suicide in patients with such common neurological diseases as epilepsy, migraine, and multiple sclerosis, as well as in those with such degenerative disorders as Alzheimer disease, Huntington disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and Parkinson's disease.

In most cases, suicidal ideation appears in the early stages after diagnosis, in the presence of disabling symptoms, and/or in patients with psychiatric comorbidities (often associated with these neurological diseases).

Effective suicide prevention in this population group requires assessment of the risk of suicide mainly in newly diagnosed patients, in patients showing unmistakable despair or disabling symptoms, and in patients presenting psychiatric comorbidities (especially depressive symptoms). It is essential to train specialists to detect warning signs in order that they may adopt a suitable approach and determine when psychiatric assessment is required.

Source: doi: 10.1016/j.nrleng.2020.03.005