Clinical characterization of Italian suicide attempters with bipolar disorder

Bernardo Dell'osso, Matteo Vismara, Cristina Dobrea, Laura Cremaschi, Benedetta Grancini, Chiara Arici, Beatrice Benatti, Massimiliano Buoli, Terence A. Ketter, A. Carlo Altamura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction Bipolar disorder (BD) is a chronic, highly disabling condition associated with psychiatric/medical comorbidity and substantive morbidity, mortality, and suicide risks. In prior reports, varying parameters have been associated with suicide risk.Objectives To evaluate sociodemographic and clinical variables characterizing Italian individuals with BD with versus without prior suicide attempt (PSA).Methods A sample of 362 Italian patients categorized as BD according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM IV-TR) was assessed and divided in 2 subgroups: with and without PSA. Sociodemographic and clinical variables were compared between prior attempters and non-attempters using corrected multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA).Results More than one-fourth of BD patients (26.2%) had a PSA, with approximately one-third (31%) of these having>1 PSA. Depressive polarity at onset, higher number of psychiatric hospitalizations, comorbid alcohol abuse, comorbid eating disorders, and psychiatric poly-comorbidity were significantly more frequent (p<.05) in patients with versus without PSA. Additionally, treatment with lithium, polypharmacotherapy (≥4 current drugs) and previous psychosocial rehabilitation were significantly more often present in patients with versus without PSA.Conclusions We found several clinical variables associated with PSA in BD patients. Even though these retrospective findings did not address causality, they could be clinically relevant to better understanding suicidal behavior in BD and adopting proper strategies to prevent suicide in higher risk patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-277
Number of pages7
JournalCNS Spectrums
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2018


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Clinical characterization
  • Pharmacological treatment
  • Prior suicide attempt
  • Suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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