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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 36  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 45-53

Dissociative phenomena in attempted suicide

Department of Psychiatric, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Hala Fakhry
Psychiatric Department, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Cairo
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1110-1105.153779

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Background Dissociation may play a role in forgetting the events during self-inflicted behaviors and suicidal trials. Objective A trial was conducted to investigate the presence of dissociative phenomena among people attempting suicide. Participants and methods A convenient sample of 77 suicide attempters who joined the study (Group 1) was admitted to 'Sharjah Kuwaiti Hospital' in 2007 under police supervision. These patients reported forgetting the details of the suicidal trial, and hence they were referred for psychiatric consultation. Only fully conscious patients with clear sensorium who gave consent were included. Clinical assessment of Group1 included SCID to diagnose patients according to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 4 th ed (DSM-IV). Psychometric assessment for patients was performed using the Questionnaire of Experience of Dissociation (QED) and the Dissociative Experience Scale (DES) for dissociative phenomena, the analysis of their response to a direct question about suicidal ideation in item 9 of the Beck Depression Inventory as the suicidal index and the assessment of the degree of hopelessness using the Hopelessness Scale (HS). A matching control group of 50 volunteers with 'no psychiatric disorder' from the general population (Group 2) was included in the study for comparison. Results Although 29 (37.66%) of the suicidal attempters in Group 1 had no psychiatric diagnosis, 48 (62.34%) had psychiatric diagnosis and three of them had both Axis I and Axis II DSM-IV diagnoses. MDD was the most prevalent diagnosis among these diagnoses [22 (59.46%)]. Results showed significantly high scores (P = 0.0001) of QED, DES, and HS in the study group (Group 1) compared with the control group (Group 2). A highly significant difference was found in the mean score of dissociative scales, QED (P = 0.0040) and DES (P < 0.0001), between attempters with and without psychiatric diagnosis, but not in the mean scores of HS (P = 0.7640). A statistically significant difference was found between the method used in the suicidal attempt and the mean scores of HS (P = 0.0060) and DES (P = 0.0001), but not QED (P = 0.4755). Conclusion Suicidal attempters have a high prevalence of dissociative phenomena. The presence of psychiatric diagnosis and not the method used in suicide may play a role in increasing the suicidal intent.

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