Suicide risk within 1 year of dementia diagnosis in older adults: A nationwide retrospective cohort study

Jae Woo Choi, Kang Soo Lee, Euna Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Although severe dementia could protect against suicide death by decreasing a person’s capacity to implement a suicide plan, patients with early dementia may have better cognition, giving them more sustained insight into their disease and better enabling them to carry out a suicide plan. This study investigated suicide risk in older adults within 1 year of receiving a diagnosis of dementia. Methods: This study used National Health Insurance Service Senior Cohort data and included 36 541 older adults with newly diagnosed dementia (a Mini-Mental State Examination score ≤ 26 and a Clinical Dementia Rating score ≥ 1 or a Global Deterioration Scale score ≥ 3), including Alzheimer disease, vascular dementia and other/unspecified dementia, from 2004 to 2012. We selected older adults without dementia through 1:1 propensity-score matching using sex, age, comorbidities and index year, with follow-up throughout 2013. We estimated adjusted hazard ratios (AHRs) of suicide deaths within 1 year after diagnosis using a time-dependent Cox proportional haz-ards model. Results: We verified 46 suicide deaths during the first year after a dementia diagnosis. Older adults with dementia had an increased risk of suicide death compared to those without dementia (AHR 2.57; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.49–4.44). Older adults with Alzheimer disease (AHR 2.50; 95% CI 1.41–4.44) or other/unspecified dementia (AHR 4.32; 95% CI 2.04–9.15) had an increased risk of suicide death compared to those without dementia. Patients with dementia but without other mental disorders (AHR 1.96; 95% CI 1.02–3.77) and patients with dementia and other mental disorders (AHR 3.22; 95% CI 1.78–5.83) had an increased risk of suicide death compared to patients without dementia. Patients with dementia and schizophrenia (AHR 8.73; 95% CI 2.57–29.71), mood disorders (AHR 2.84; 95% CI 1.23–6.53) or anxiety or somatoform disorders (AHR 3.53; 95% CI 1.73–7.21), respectively, had an increased risk of suicide death compared to patients with those conditions but without dementia. Limitations: This study examined only elderly patients in South Korea, a population with a substantially higher suicide rate than the global population. Caution must be exercised when generaliz-ing the results to populations with dissimilar backgrounds. Conclusion: Patients with dementia had an increased risk of suicide death within 1 year after diagnosis compared to those without dementia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E119-E127
JournalJournal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience
Volume46
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jan 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Joule Inc. or its licensors.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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