Suicide physical examination

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Epidemiology and Demographics

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Physical Examination

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Psychiatric evaluation


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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


Physical examination should be focussed towards vital signs, level of consciousness and orientation, manifestations of toxidromes, signs of recent or remote suicide attempts, scars from cutting, bruises from hanging, signs of Physical or sexual abuse, characteristic bruising patterns or genital trauma, signs of substance abuse, track marks from intravenous drug use, nosebleeds or perioral blisters from inhalant use and signs of hyperthyroidism.

Physical examination

  • Physical examination should be focussed towards:[1]
    • Vital signs
    • Level of consciousness and orientation
    • Manifestations of toxidromes
    • Signs of recent or remote suicide attempts
      • Scars from cutting
      • Bruises from hanging)
    • Signs of Physical or sexual abuse
      • Characteristic bruising patterns or genital trauma
    • Signs ofsubstance abuse
      • Track marks from intravenous drug use
      • Nosebleeds or perioral blisters from inhalant use
    • Signs of hperthyroidism
  • A mental status examination should be done with consideartion of following components:[1]
    • Appearance
    • Attitude
    • Behavior
    • Motor functioning
    • Attention
    • Concentration
    • Orientation
    • Memory
    • Affect
    • Speech
    • Language
    • Suicidal and homicidal ideation, plan, and intent
    • Thought content
    • Thought process
    • Perception
    • Intellectual functioning
    • Judgement
    • Insight


  1. 1.0 1.1 Kennedy SP, Baraff LJ, Suddath RL, Asarnow JR (April 2004). "Emergency department management of suicidal adolescents". Ann Emerg Med. 43 (4): 452–60. doi:10.1016/S0196064403009818. PMID 15039687.

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