Perseverations as a Risk Factor for Suicide
Available with English captions and subtitles in Spanish.
Carolyn Rodriguez, MD, PhD, Stanford University School of Medicine, presents as part of the 2022 Suicide-Focused Assessment and Treatment: An Update for Professionals course.
Perseverations and Suicide
In their study, Rodriguez and Alan Schatzberg, MD, hypothesize that a person’s severity of perseverative thinking is a modifiable risk factor for suicide attempts across diagnoses.
Watch now to learn more about:
- The roles perseveratory thoughts have in suicidal behavior
- How researchers are investigating biomarkers as a means of prevention
- Why biomarkers may also play a role in treatment and assessment
Perseverative thoughts can include three major forms:
- Ruminations: Recurrent, self-reflective, uncontrollable focus on depressed mood and its causes and consequences
- Obsessions: Intrusive thoughts, images, or urges that increase anxiety
- Suicidal ideation: Thoughts about, or preoccupation with, suicide
Research has shown that ruminations are a risk factor for suicidal attempts. Increased suicidal ideation in the months before a suicide attempt is a risk factor for suicide attempts.
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In their ongoing study on perseverations as a risk factor for suicide, Rodriguez and her colleagues are examining the possibility of using biomarkers to predict suicide attempts at the individual level.
Their hypothesis includes the idea that the severity of perseverative thinking is a modifiable risk factor for suicide attempts across the diagnosis.
They also hypothesize that cognitive control, which enables flexible switching and regulation of perseverative thought content, may be a modifiable risk factor for underlying vulnerability for suicidal behavior.