Improvement and recovery from suicidal and self-destructive phenomena in treatment-refractory disorders

Christopher J. Perry, James Chris Fowler, Adrian Bailey, A. Jill Clemence, Eric M. Plakun, Barbara Zheutlin, Stefanie Speanburg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Long-term data about recovery from suicidal and self-destructive phenomena are limited. We examined these phenomena in a naturalistic, follow-along study of 226 adults with treatment-refractory disorders admitted at the Austen Riggs Center. Follow-along interviews systematically rated suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, self-mutilation, and other self-destructive phenomena. We identified vital status in 98.7%, finding 1 death by suicide. Among 79 who made at least 1 suicide attempt in the 6 months before admission, 61 (77.2%) were estimated to be free of suicidal acts by a median of 7.18 years. Self-mutilation and other self-destructive phenomena showed slightly longer times to recovery. Among 156 individuals with suicidal ideation, 79 (50.6%) attained sustained recovery at a median of 8.69 years. On average 2.9 to 5.2 years were required from the last observed self-destructive event to attain sustained recovery. Most participants showed significant improvement in suicidal phenomena, whereas between 50.6% and 77.2% attained sustained recoveries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-34
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Nervous and Mental Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009


  • Self-harm
  • Self-mutilation
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Suicide attempts
  • Time to recovery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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