Psychotic experiences: one in four suicide is linked to hallucinations

One in four suicide attempts are in fact related to visual, auditory or olfactory hallucinations, which are much more common than people think.

To prevent more suicides, a new therapeutic avenue has opened. One in four attempts is in fact linked to hallucinations, according to research recently published in the JAMA Psychiatry. The behaviors of 84,285 people were analyzed.
"Recent research has shown that psychotic experiences are much more frequent than psychotic disorders and that they are associated with a range of mental disorders.A particularly strong association between psychotic experiences and suicidal behavior has also recently been implemented. light, "say the scientists in preamble.

"To put an end to unbearable pain"

With 200,000 suicide attempts each year and nearly 10,000 deaths, France has one of the highest European rates (10 out of 32). "We know today that suicide is not about dying, but about putting an end to suffering, of extinguishing pain that has become unbearable.These people are in extreme psychological pain, often isolated, in a cognitive impasse where they think they have no other solution than this one, "says Philippe Courtet, suicide psychiatrist at Montpellier University Hospital. "The engine of suicide is to put out an unbearable pain" and not to die, they summarize.
Researchers have revealed that a quarter of suicide attempts are associated with a dysfunction in the way the brain interprets information. It can be visual, olfactory or auditory deformities. Such events are not necessarily associated with mental illnesses, which can occur, for example, during a very high stress or change of environment. We then speak of "psychotic experiences" (non-pathological), and not "psychotic episodes" (pathological).

Prevent at least a quarter of all suicide attempts

About 5 to 7% of the general population, for example, say they hear voices from time to time, a figure much higher than previously thought. Dr. Ian Kelleher, director of the study, comments: "Our research shows that if we can understand and treat the factors associated with these perceptual abnormalities, we could prevent at least a quarter of all suicide attempts and related deaths. that about a million people die every year in the world, this is a very encouraging prospect. "
These findings also underscore the need for special medical attention for patients who report experiencing a psychotic experience, and for recognizing a subtype of psychosis-related suicide, for further research.