Patients with a psychiatric diagnosis are known to be at high risk of suicidal behaviour, however clinicians face a challenge in identifying those at highest risk. A systematic review and meta-analysis published in Systematic Reviews has found that, among patients with  psychiatric diagnoses, sleep disturbances are associated with an increased risk of suicidal behavior.

A team of researchers, led by Mohammad Hassan Murad of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, USA, identified 19 observational studies (involving 104,436 patients) that reported on sleep disturbances in patients with psychiatric diagnosis and suicidal behaviours.

Additional subgroup analyses based on the type of suicidal behaviours and different types of sleep disturbance, found that the association was seen across different psychiatric diagnoses and suicidal behaviour was significantly associated with insomnia, parasomnias, and sleep-related breathing disorders, but not hypersomnias.

These results suggest that clinicians should be alert to the presence of sleep disturbance in patients with psychiatric diagnoses, and that sleep disorders should form part of suicide risk assessment.





Written by Stephanie Harriman, Deputy Medical Editor for BioMed Central.

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