In the ER: Suicide Attempts Involving Antidepressants
In 2008, 23.0 percent of visits adolescents made to the emergency room (ER) for drug-related suicide attempts involved antidepressants. For young adults, that number totaled 17.6 percent.
Emergency Department Visits for Drug-Related Suicide Attempts Involving Antidepressants by Adolescents and Young Adults: 2004 to 2008, a recent report from SAMHSA, examines recent trends based on combined 2004 to 2008 data.
For young adults, there were statistically significant increases in the number of drug-related ER visits for suicide attempts involving antidepressants between 2005 and 2006 (3,807 versus 6,010 visits) and between 2005 and 2008 (3,807 versus 6,700 visits).
Between 2004 and 2008, there was an annual average of 9,660 ER visits for drug-related suicide attempts involving antidepressants by adolescents age 12 to 17 and young adults age 18 to 24.
Between these years, females made up three-fourths of visits by adolescents (74.7 percent) and two-thirds of visits by young adults (65.2 percent).
Among ER visits for suicide attempts involving antidepressants, more than two-thirds of visits by adolescents (68.4 percent) and more than three-fourths of visits by young adults (78.0 percent) involved other substances in addition to antidepressants.
Other types of pharmaceuticals were the most common drugs used in combination with antidepressants for both age groups (58.8 percent of visits made by adolescents and 61.5 percent of visits made by young adults). For each group, the most commonly found pharmaceuticals were pain relievers and drugs to treat anxiety and insomnia.
One-tenth (10.2 percent) of visits by adolescents and nearly one-fourth (22.6 percent) of those made by young adults involved antidepressants in combination with alcohol.
Among ER visits involving suicide attempts and antidepressants, 27.6 percent of adolescents and 17.3 percent of young adults were treated and released.
One-third (32.9 percent) of visits made by adolescents and one-half (49.4 percent) of visits made by young adults resulted in hospitalization.
Download the full report from SAMHSA’s website.
Source: SAMHSA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality (March 8, 2011). The DAWN Report: Emergency Department Visits for Drug-Related Suicide Attempts Involving Antidepressants by Adolescents and Young Adults: 2004 to 2008. Figure 1. Rockville, MD.