Dementia diagnosis increases suicide risk for those under age 65, study finds – CTV

Oct. 4, 2022

A diagnosis of dementia more than doubles the risk of suicide in the first three months after a patient is told the news, according to the latest research.

The study, which followed nearly 600,000 English people for 18 years, found patients who already had a psychiatric condition, or who were younger than age 65 at the time of diagnosis, were at a similar risk. The risk was highest during the first three months after learning the news for people younger than 65: They were 6.5 times more likely to die by suicide.

“A dementia diagnosis can be devastating, but the immediate period after diagnosis is often the period of greatest distress,” said lead study author Dr. Charles Marshall, clinical senior lecturer and honourary consultant neurologist at the Wolfson Institute of Population Health at Queen Mary University of London.

“Receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s at an early age is rare, unexpected and overwhelming, making it very difficult to accept,” said Beth Kallmyer, vice president of care and support for the Alzheimer’s Association, who was not involved in the study.

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