Recently, a clinical trial
was conducted to determine whether adding lithium to the treatment plan of depressed people could reduce the number of suicide attempts.
Suicide is a devastating clinical and public health problem. In 2017, suicide was America’s 10th leading cause of death. 90% of suicides occur due to mental health problems. Military war veterans are especially vulnerable to suffering from depression which can ultimately lead to suicide.
Many drug therapies are available to reduce the risk of suicide in depressed people. Lithium has also been used for this purpose for many years. However, strong clinical studies have not been done to confirm the effectiveness of lithium in this disease.
Recently, a clinical trial was conducted to find the effectiveness of lithium in preventing suicides in military war veterans who were suffering from depression.
The clinical study
, which was published in JAMA Psychiatry, followed 519 veterans who had previously attempted suicide. The participants were assigned to receive either lithium or a placebo for a period of one year. 255 patients received lithium while 264 patients received a placebo.
The results of the clinical study showed that 65 patients who took lithium attempted suicide while suicide was reported in 62 patients from the group that did not take lithium. This showed that the suicide rate was similar in both groups.
The results of the clinical trial demonstrated that the veterans who were treated with lithium had the same risk of attempting suicide as those who did not receive this treatment.
In addition, lithium did not reduce the symptoms of depression in these patients. The risk of adverse effects was also similar in both groups.
It's important to note that lithium can also cause side effects, which can include weight gain, tremors, and kidney problems.
Overall, the clinical study does not provide strong evidence that lithium can be an effective treatment for preventing suicide in military war veterans suffering from depression. Hence it can be safely deduced that adding lithium to the treatment plan of depressed people will not help decrease the risk of suicide. Therefore, alternative drug therapies and counseling should be sought to prevent suicide in depressed people.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or behaviors, it's important to seek help from a mental health professional. There are many other effective treatments available, and a mental health professional can help determine the best course of treatment for each individual.