The Potentially Suicidal Patient

  • Williard Shanken


Clinicians in all specialties must be aware that suicide is the ninth leading cause of death in the United States. The history, mental status examination, and diagnosis are crucial in the evaluation of all patients with emotional problems. When you take the history, do not hesitate to ask the patient whether he is contemplating suicide. Most patients will reply honestly to this question, and enable you to estimate roughly the seriousness of the suicide risk. However, this question alone is never sufficient, and a number of historical, mental status, and diagnostic variables have to be taken into account. These variables must be viewed together; none is by itself an absolute indicator of suicide risk.


Suicide Attempt Dialysis Patient Suicide Rate Suicide Risk Suicidal Patient 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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    Abram, H., Moore, G., and Westervelt, F. Suicidal behavior in chronic dialysis patients. Am. J. Psychiatry 127: 1199–1204 (1971).PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Spectrum Publications 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Williard Shanken

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