Epidemiological Study of Suicide in Croatia (2004-2009) - Motive Alcohol Dependence

By Skrtic, Drazen; Milivojevic, Lana et al. | Alcoholism, January 1, 2011 | Go to article overview

Epidemiological Study of Suicide in Croatia (2004-2009) - Motive Alcohol Dependence


Skrtic, Drazen, Milivojevic, Lana, Karlovic, Ruza, Alcoholism


INTRODUCTION

Very often motives for suicide can be guessed or determined by probabilities resulting from the collected data, determined facts and medical documentation. Amotive is considered the one that, besides internal and external factors affecting the decision of committing suicide, was decisive in the moment of suicide commitment. Alcohol dependence and alcohol intoxication are significant risk factors for suicidal behavior. However, the relationship between alcohol dependence, acute alcohol intoxication and suicide is not entirely clear. But one is convincing: acute intoxication conditions reduce an individual's self-control activating thus the already existing suicidal tendencies. The connection between alcohol abuse and suicide has been confirmed by a number of epidemiologic and psychiatric studies.1

Suicide rate depends on a great number of interfering factors of dependence, disease, socio-demographic characteristics and geographical area. However, recent studies of suicide in Croatia have shown that the distribution of suicides is mostly connected to the geographical position of the region. So, the suicide rate is lower in the Mediterranean part of the country than in the continental part.

Suicide rate research includes all characteristics of suicide, socio-demographic data and the regional distribution of suicides. The authors analyzed the rates of suicide committed due to alcohol dependence and acute alcohol intoxication according to previously determined parameters. The initial research hypothesis starts from the fact that the rate of all suicides in the Mediterranean part of the country is several-fold lower than the rate in the continental part, so, as a result, the rate of suicide committed because of alcohol dependence and acute alcohol intoxication should follow, with small deviations, the rates of the regional distribution of the total suicide rates.

Subjects and methods

The Ministry of the Interior and the Croatian Bureau of Statistics register the data on the number of suicides in Croatia. The Ministry of the Interior registers every suicide and attempt suicide in the Croatian area regardless of the citizenship and of the period the person who committed suicide spent in a certain area. The data includes persons who committed suicide and died in the area of committing suicide as well as those who died later and in a difference location. The Croatian Bureau of Statistics registers suicides and attempt suicides of Croatian citizens and citizens of other countries who are permanent inhabitants of Croatia and who have resided at least a year on the Croatian territory. Due to the different methodology used when processing the data on the number of suicides and attempt suicides, the data from the Ministry and the Bureau of Statistics differs for more than 10%. For example, according to the Ministry of the Interior's Register there were 5365 suicides in the examined period, and according to the Bureau of Statistics data there were 6086 suicides. There is a 13.5% difference in the absolute number between those two sources of information. The average suicide rate according to the Ministry of the Interior's data was 19.22 per 100 000 inhabitants, while according to the Croatian Bureau of Statistics it was 21.81. 2

Source of information

The present research was based on the Ministry of the Interior's data and it includes data on the number of suicides for the period 2004-2009 gathered from the Ministry's information system. The data on the number of suicides are based on the research of causes and reasons of death conducted by police officers in case of sudden deaths or suicides. The data were gathered when it was determined that the cause of death was suicide regardless of the fact whether a person died in the location where the suicide was committed, during the provision of medical assistance or transport to the place where it was possible to receive medical assistance.

The Ministry's information system contains data on the authorized police administration at whose area the suicide was committed, day, hour and month of suicide commitment, the period, season, marital status, data on previously attempted suicides, on previous treatments of mental and physical diseases, the existence of suicide notes and motives for suicide for every registered suicide (especially motivated by alcoholism). …

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