Suicide risk almost 7 times higher after early diagnosis of dementia

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In a study from Queen Mary University of London and the University of Nottingham, scientists found that suicide risk in the first three months following a dementia diagnosis for patients aged under 65 is nearly 7 times higher than in patients without dementia.

In the UK, around 850,000 people are currently living with dementia and it’s the leading cause of death.

Around 42,000 of these have young onset dementia Only around two-thirds of those living with dementia have received a diagnosis and improving access to a timely and accurate dementia diagnosis is a major NHS priority.

However, the expansion of memory clinics for diagnosing dementia has not always been accompanied by additional resources for supporting patients in the difficult period after they are given a diagnosis.

In the study, the team examined nearly 600,000 people in England to determine if there was a link between dementia diagnosis and suicide risk.

They found that nearly 2% of patients with a dementia diagnosis died from suicide.

The results showed that patients were at a high risk of suicide after a dementia diagnosis if aged under 65, during the first three months after a diagnosis, or if they had known psychiatric illness.

Early recognition and a timely accurate diagnosis of dementia, combined with specialist support, are hugely important factors in reducing the distress caused by a young onset diagnosis.

The team says improving access to a dementia diagnosis is an important healthcare priority.

However, a dementia diagnosis can be devastating, and our work shows that we also need to ensure that services have the resources to provide appropriate support after a diagnosis is given.

These findings suggest that memory clinics should particularly target suicide risk assessment for patients with young-onset dementia, patients in the first few months after a dementia diagnosis and patients who are already known to have psychiatric problems.

If you care about dementia, please read studies about 5 steps to protect against Alzheimer’s and dementia, and these antioxidants could help reduce the risk of dementia.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about biggest risk factors for the dementia risk, and results showing cataract removal may reduce the dementia risk by 30%.

The study was conducted by Dr. Charles Marshall et al.

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