Epileptic Patients Face Heightened Suicide Risk

MARCH 20, 2017
Ryan Marotta, Assistant Editor
Patients with epilepsy are more likely to commit suicide than individuals without the condition, according to the results of a recent CDC study.
The study, published in Epilepsy & Behavior, set out to better understand suicide risk in epileptic patients with epilepsy by analyzing data from the US National Violent Death Reporting System. The research team found that, between 2003 and 2011, the suicide rate among epileptic patients (17 out of 100,000 individuals) was 22% higher than that of the general population (14 out of 100,000 individuals). Factors such as race, ethnicity, education, and marital status were consistent across both groups, although approximately one-third of the suicides in both groups occurred among individuals with the least education.
“The suicide rate is higher among people with epilepsy compared to the general population, so suicide prevention efforts are urgently needed to prevent these deaths,” said study author Rosemarie Kobau, MPH, MAPP, in a press release.
The researchers noted that patients with epilepsy were more likely to commit suicide in residential settings (81%), compared with those without the disorder (76%), and that epileptic patients were also more likely to use poison as a means of suicide. Based on these findings, the study authors recommended that caregivers and relatives of patients with epilepsy with a prior suicide risk monitor the patient’s access to potentially toxic materials.

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