Background: Suicide is probably one of the worst potential complications for people with schizophrenia. Even though the use of antipsychotic medication is essential in reducing suicidal behaviour, the use of psychological treatments seems to be in the same way necessary. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based form of psychotherapy that is constantly trying to synchronise with the latest recommendations from the research. The goal of the present work is to systematically review the scientific evidence from published studies testing the effectiveness of CBT designed to deal with suicide in patients with schizophrenia.
Methods: We searched using multiple terms related to suicide prevention based on CBT in schizophrenia. Two databases (Medline and SCOPUS) were scrutinised for the electronic search, and different reference lists from previous reviews were also hand-checked.
Results: We identified 5 randomised and controlled trials of CBT that included suicide-related cognitions or behaviours as a primary outcome measure. CBT focusing on suicidal cognitions and behaviours was found to be effective in reducing suicidal ideation. As the number of studies fulfilling the inclusion criteria is small, and the assessment of outcomes is heterogeneous, we did not perform a meta-analysis and present results in a narrative way.
Conclusion: Research on CBT focused on suicide prevention in patients with schizophrenia is promising, but current evidence is notoriously insufficient. Although those therapies seemed to be efficacious in the prevention of suicide, scarcity of randomised clinical trials specifically focusing on suicide is probably the most important issue to be faced. Given the current evidence, clinicians should be familiar with CBT techniques focusing on suicidal cognitions. However, suicide prevention and treatment in those with schizophrenia is complex, and many other factors such as possible earlier use of clozapine, optimizing adherence to medication, and other psychosocial aspects should be addressed. A combination of different strategies appears to be mandatory.
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0447.2006.00799.x] [PMID: 17022792]
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1192/bjp.bp.107.043570] [PMID: 18515890]
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0447.2010.01572.x] [PMID: 20491720]
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1046/j.1440-1614.2003.01209.x] [PMID: 12873325]
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2215-0366(16)00064-X] [PMID: 27017086]
[http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/14378] [PMID: 33555265]
[http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12888-020-02697-8] [PMID: 32546129]