Parasuicide and drug self-poisoning: Analysis of the epidemiological and clinical variables of the patients admitted to the Poisoning Treatment Centre (CAV), Niguarda General Hospital, Milan

Massimo Carlo Mauri, Giancarlo Cerveri, Lucia Sara Volonteri, Alessio Fiorentini, Alessandro Colasanti, Sergio Manfré, Rossana Borghini, Emma Pannacciulli

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Abstract

Epidemiological knowledge of parasuicides and drug self-poisoning is still limited by a lack of data. A number of preliminary studies, which require further analysis, evidenced that parasuicidal acts occur more often among females, that the peak rate is generally recorded between the ages of 15 and 34 years and psychotropic medications seems to be the most frequently used. The aim of this study was to describe the demographic and clinical variables of a sample of subjects admitted to the Posisoning Treatment Centre (CAV), Niguarda General Hospital, Milan, following drug self-poisoning. Furthermore, this study is aimed to identify the risk factors associated to parasuicidal gestures, with special care for the used drugs, the presence of psychiatric or organic disorders, alcoholism and drug addiction. The study included the 201 patients attending the CAV in 1999 and 2000 who satisfied the criteria of self-poisoning attempts: 106 cases in 1999 and 95 in 2000. The sample had a prevalence of females (64%). The peak rates of parasuicides from drug self-poisoning were reached between 21 and 30 years among the females, and 31 and 40 years among the males. 81.6% of the patients used one or more psychoactive drugs, the most frequent being the benzodiazepines (58.7%), classic neuroleptics (16.9%) and new-generation antidepressants (SSRIs, SNRIs, NARIs) (12.9%). The prevalence of mood disorders was higher among females (64% vs 42%), whereas schizophrenia was more frequently diagnosed in males (22% vs 10%). 61% (33%) had a history of previous attempted suicides. The presence of clinically relevant organic diseases was observed in 24.9% of the sample.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5
JournalClinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health
Volume1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 28 2005

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Keywords

  • Drug self-poisoning
  • Parasuicide
  • Psychiatric diagnoses
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Epidemiology

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