Korean J Psychosom Med.  2015 Dec;23(2):100-106. 10.0000/kjpm.2015.23.2.100.

The Clinical Characteristics of Elderly Suicide Attempters Visiting Emergency Room

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Ilsan Paik Hospital, Inje Unversity College of Medicine, Goyang, Korea. intuit@paik.ac.kr

Abstract


OBJECTIVES
The purpose of this study was to find out the clinical and sociodemographic characteristics of elderly suicide attempters visiting emergency room, compared to non-elderly adult suicide attempters.
METHODS
We enrolled suicidal attempters who were treated in the emergency room of the Inje University Ilsan Paik Hospital between June 2013 and July 2015. We conducted a retrospective chart review of 336 suicidal attempters, and compared sociodemographic and clinical characteristics between elderly and non-elderly adult suicide attempters.
RESULTS
During the study period, 336 patients visited the emergency room of the medical center after suicide attempts. Among these, there were 71 elderly(21.2%) and 265 non-elderly adult(79.8%) suicide attempters. The suicidal methods among elderly were poisoning(73.3%), hanging(19.7%), cutting(5.6%), and jumping(1.4%). Those in non-elderly were poisoning(73.2%), cutting(17.0%), hanging(6.8%), and jumping(3.0%). The elderly suicide attempters had the tendency to choose more dangerous methods and showed higher lethality compared to adult suicide attempters(20.6% vs. 1.9%, χ2=34.565, p<0.05). On the other hand, premorbid psychiatric disorders had been more commonly diagnosed in non-elderly adults than elderly suicide attempters(49.8% vs. 26.8%, χ2=12.024, p<0.05).
CONCLUSIONS
The results provide evidence of different sociodemographic and clinical characteristics of elderly suicide attempters compared to non-elderly ones visiting the emergency room. Through this study, it can be seen that the suicide attempt in the elderly tends to be severer than in the non-elderly, but only a small portion of them seek for help from psychiatric intervention. Further study is required to provide effective suicide prevention programs for elderly population.

Keyword

Suicide attempt; Elderly; Emergency room
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