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Home > Research Articles > One in Five Depressed People Have Tried Suicide

Reuters Health

Monday, January 20, 2003

Mon January 20, 2003 03:07 PM ET

By Richard Woodman

LONDON (Reuters Health) - About one in five depressed patients attempt suicide and 47% think about suicide before their condition is diagnosed, according to a survey of psychiatrists released on Monday.

Datamonitor said the findings, based on interviews with 220 psychiatrists in the US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan and the UK, showed how the stigma of depression was stopping patients from seeking therapy.

A spokesman for Britain's Royal College of Psychiatrists said he was not surprised by the high rate of reported suicide attempts. Most people with depression probably never sought help, he said.

The Datamonitor report on the $14 billion anti-depressant market says that aside from a depressed mood, sleeping disorders are the most common symptom of depression, with 82.1% of diagnosed patients suffering from this problem.

The report notes that 51% of patients treated for depression also have at least one anxiety disorder. The most common was generalized anxiety disorder, affecting 30% of patients, followed by panic disorder (22%), social anxiety disorder (19%), agoraphobia (16%) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (14%).

Research also showed that 38% of patients with depression are addicted to smoking, 21% are alcohol dependent, 15% have a substance abuse disorder, 9% have bulimia nervosa and 13% have binge eating disorder.

Datamonitor analyst Nick Alcock said these areas had not been actively targeted by antidepressant manufacturers, and represented commercial opportunities