Abstract

Suicide rates among schizophrenic individuals are disturbingly high. At present, suicide is the number one cause of premature death among schizophrenics, with 10 to 13 percent killing themselves. Recent studies place the risk of suicide for persons with schizophrenia at a level comparable to that for persons with affective disorder. Depression, especially the symptom of self-reported or perceived hopelessness, is an important comorbidity factor in assessing this risk. Young white schizophrenic men with high levels of premorbid functioning and high expectations are at particularly high risk. Schizophrenic women, unlike women in the general population, behave more like men when it comes to choosing suicide. This article reviews recent studies reporting suicide rates and risk factors for suicide among schizophrenic patients. Current issues concerning the prediction, prevention, and treatment of suicidality among persons with schizophrenia are also discussed.