In a study of more than 100,000 patients treated for depression, suicide attempts declined during the first month of treatment–whether that treatment consisted of medication, psychotherapy, or both. The findings, published by Group Health researchers in the July American Journal of Psychiatry, show a similar pattern for populations of adolescents and young adults (up to age 24) as for older adults.
Suicide attempts, overall, are not raised by medication, either for adults or adolescents/young adults. Nonetheless, some people do become suicidal despite never having been so before. The prof suggests that this is due to subgroups (duh, some of the 30-40% of bipolar patients who get hypo/manic/mixed, but I wonder if there’s anyone else – maybe we’ll find out eventually).
I do wonder, though, if some of the improvement isn’t regression to the mean – people frequently don’t start treatment until they’re quite bad off, and mood episodes tend to pass with time.