A 'depressive mixed state' refers to a condition where a patient is depressed, but also has symptoms of 'excitation', or mania. Patients who suffering from mixed depression are at a higher risk committing suicide, revealed a new study.
For the study, researchers evaluated 2811 patients suffering from depression. Out of these students, 628 had already attempted suicide. Every patient was interviewed by a psychiatrist as if it were a standard evaluation of a mentally-ill patient.
The researchers looked especially at the characteristics and behaviors of those who had attempted suicide, and compared these to depressed patients who had not attempted suicide. They observed that certain patterns recur before suicide attempts.
Author Dina Popovic said, "'Depressive mixed states' often preceded suicide attempts. This was significantly more in patients who had previously attempted suicide, than those who had not. All the patients who suffer from mixed depression are at much higher risk of suicide."
In the second study, the researchers found that if a depressed patient presented symptoms such as risky behavior, agitation (pacing around a room, wringing one's hands, pulling off clothing and putting it back on and other similar actions), impulsivity (acting on a whim, displaying behavior characterized by little or no forethought, reflection, or consideration of the consequences), then their risk of attempting suicide is at least 50% higher.
Popovic said, "Assessing these symptoms in every depressed patient was extremely important, and had immense therapeutical implications. Most of these symptoms would not be spontaneously referred by the patient, the clinician needs to inquire directly."