Hospitalisation for deliberate self-poisoning in Scotland from 1981 to 1993: trends in rates and types of drugs used

McLoone, P. and Crombie, I. K. (1996) Hospitalisation for deliberate self-poisoning in Scotland from 1981 to 1993: trends in rates and types of drugs used. British Journal of Psychiatry, 169(1), pp. 81-85. (doi: 10.1192/bjp.169.1.81) (PMID:8818373)

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Abstract

Background: Rates of self-poisoning fell during the 1980s, although recent reports suggest this trend may have reversed. Methods: Data on all hospital discharges with a diagnosis of deliberate self-poisoning were obtained from the Information and Statistics Division of the NHS in Scotland. Rates of self-poisoning were investigated by overall trend, and for trends by age and by type of drug. Results: Deliberate self-poisoning rates for men and women began increasing in the late 1980s, and did so steadily during the early 1990s. Because the rates are increasing faster in men, the traditional excess of self-poisoning among women is being eroded. For men rates increased in all age groups up to the age of 60, but the greatest rise occurred between ages 15–29. For women the increase was largely restricted to 15–24-year-olds, and rates fell among women over the age of 50. Self-poisoning with paracetamol increased most rapidly; in contrast to aspirin which showed little change. Opiate analgesics, antirheumatics, antidepressants and antipsychotics have also shown some increase in their use in both genders. There has been a substantial fall in the use of benzodiazepines in women, but little change among men. Conclusion: Rapid increases in self-poisoning particularly among young adults present a serious public health problem. Controlling this epidemic is made difficult because the principal drug involved, paracetamol, is readily available.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McLoone, Mr Philip
Authors: McLoone, P., and Crombie, I. K.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Public Health
Journal Name:British Journal of Psychiatry
Publisher:Royal College of Psychiatrists
ISSN:0007-1250
ISSN (Online):1472-1465

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