OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to investigate the prevalence
and comorbidity of current mental disorders defined by DSM-III-R among a
random sample of suicide victims from a nationwide suicide population.
METHOD: Using a psychological autopsy method, the authors collected
comprehensive data on all suicide victims in Finland during 1 year.
Retrospective axis I-III consensus diagnoses were assigned to 229 (172
male, 57 female) victims. RESULTS: One or more diagnoses on axis I were
made for 93% of the victims. The most prevalent disorders were depressive
disorders (59%) and alcohol dependence or abuse (43%). The prevalence of
major depression was higher among females (46%) than among males (26%).
Alcohol dependence was more common among the males (39% versus 18% for
females). A diagnosis on axis II was made for 31% and at least one
diagnosis on axis III for 46% of the cases. Only 12% of the victims
received one axis I diagnosis without any comorbidity. CONCLUSIONS: The
majority of suicide victims suffered from comorbid mental disorders.
Comorbidity needs to be taken into account when analyzing the relationship
between suicide and mental disorders and in planning treatment strategies
for suicide prevention in clinical practice.