Substance use, suicidality, and adolescent-onset schizophrenia: An Israeli 10-year retrospective study

Gal Shoval*, Jonathan Sever, Leo Sher, Robyne Diller, Alan Apter, Abraham Weizman, Gil Zalsman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the link between the use of specific types of substances and suicidality in adolescent inpatients with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. Methods: We performed a 10-year naturalistic retrospective study of 178 adolescent inpatients diagnosed as suffering from either schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. A comparison was made between the suicide-attempting adolescent inpatients and the non-attempting subjects, by the use of specific types of substances, measurements of psychotic, depressive, and aggressive symptoms, and clinical data reported during their hospitalization. Results: The suicide attempters reported considerably greater usage of inhalants and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). Alcohol and methylene-dioxy-methylamphethamine (MDMA) were also used significantly more by this group. However, no differences were found in the usage of cannabis, amphethamines, cocaine, and opiates. The suicide-attempting patients were found to have had more previous psychiatric admissions, a greater level of deliberate self-harm behavior, and a higher level of suicide ideation, but a decreased severity of psychotic symptoms. Conclusions: This study is the first report of the association between specific types of substances and suicidality in the high-risk population of adolescent psychotic inpatients. The strong association between inhalants, LSD, alcohol, and MDMA with suicidality is relevant to suicide prevention and intervention programs in adolescent-onset schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)767-775
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology
Volume16
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2006

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