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November 1971

Suicidal Behavior: A Distinction in Patients With Sedative Poisoning Seen in a General Hospital

Author Affiliations

New York
From the departments of psychiatry (Dr. McHugh,) and neurology (Miss Goodell), Cornell University Medical College, the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, New York, and the Westchester Division of the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, White Plains, NY (Dr. McHugh).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1971;25(5):456-464. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1971.01750170072011

A rating scale to gauge the lifethreatening severity of suicidal behavior in a series of 99 patients making 101 suicidal attempts with sedatives was formed from gradings of depth of coma, physical danger, and apparent intent found with the self-poisoning. The patients diagnosed as suffering from a depressive illness had a significantly higher mean rating (9.6 ± 0.4) by this scale than individuals diagnosed as personality disorder (5.2 ± 0.31). Since among self poisoning individuals those with depressive illness expose themselves to a greater likelihood of death, greater attention might be paid to advertising the diagnosis, dangers, and treatability of depressive illness in public programs attempting to prevent suicide.

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