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Attempted Suicide and its Treatment

Abstract: My wife attemped suicide last week, what shall we do now?

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Attempted Suicide and its Treatment

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Question(s): 
Written by: Fabio Piccini, doctor and Jungian psychotherapist, in charge of the "Centre for Eating Disorders Therapy" at "Malatesta Novello" nursing home in Cesena. Works privately in Rimini and Chiavari. E-mail:

First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 31 Jul 2008.

My wife attempted suicide last week, what shall we do now?

Answer:

An attempted suicide is something very close to a suicide, but there is also much more in it than a failed suicide. An attempted suicide is often a desperate way to call for help, and this fact should never be forgotten.

From a medical point of view, only a small proportion of patients who attempted suicide will require in-patients psychiatric hospital care; these include those with severe psychiatric disorders and those judged by doctors to be at considerable risk of suicide. In case the admission is definitely indicated and the patient refuses this, the admission can be executed under some form of Medical Health Act that exists in every European country.

For about a third of such patients, outpatient care will be appropriate; these include patients who are facing social, interpersonal and practical difficulties in their lives and who appear prepared to tackle these difficulties.

Often, medication (against anxiety and/or depression) is necessary. But a specific treatment (psychological or pharmacological) is not required for all patients.

What is always required in a case of attempted suicide is a strong understanding of the need for help that drove that person toward this desperate action. Strong support given from the close loved ones will undoubtedly be the first and best care available unless it was not the "close beloved" who caused them to try suicide.

Crocodilu cannot give advice about suicide. We always recommend immediate with a health professional on issues related to suicide.

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