Home > Seasonality of suicides among victims who are under the influence of alcohol.

Lasota, Dorota and Pawłowski, Witold and Krajewski, Paweł and Staniszewska, Anna and Goniewicz, Krzysztof and Goniewicz, Mariusz (2019) Seasonality of suicides among victims who are under the influence of alcohol. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16, (15), doi: 10.3390/ijerph16152806..

External website: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC66965...

INTRODUCTION: Suicide is one of the most frequent causes of death. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), each year, over eight hundred thousand people worldwide die as a result of suicide. The most common risk factors for suicide are depressive disorders and alcohol dependence. Alcohol can directly influence a decision about suicide, or be a factor facilitating this decision. The aim of the study was to analyse the seasonality of suicides among persons under the influence of alcohol.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Data for analysis were obtained from the Department of Forensic Medicine (DFM) of the Medical University of Warsaw. A retrospective analysis was performed on 317 victims of suicides by hanging, those which were entered into the registry of deaths kept by the DFM in the years 2009-2013. The analysis took into account the age and sex of victims, initial cause of death, date of post-mortem examination, autopsy result and alcohol concentration in the blood or muscles of the victims. Statistical analysis was performed using IBM SPSS Statistics version 20.

RESULTS: In the analysis, a spring peak of suicides was found for men, and an autumn peak was revealed for women. In addition, a significant correlation was observed between the age of victims and the concentration of alcohol; the older the victims, the higher the alcohol concentration. However, this correlation was reported only in the spring months.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of the analysis seem to be consistent with seasonal patterns observed in other studies, and they indicate the occurrence of suicide seasonality. In order to improve the strategies of suicide prevention, it is necessary to identify factors which are related to the seasonal variation of suicidal behaviours, as well as to gain knowledge about the mechanisms behind this phenomenon.

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