Presented at the 2017 Commonwealth of Virginia Emergency Services Continuing Education Conference
Alexandria, Virginia
by Larry H. Pastor, M.D.


When we look at crisis intervention for the suicidal patient, what do we think of?
Hospitalize, crisis care, discharge to home with a safety plan. What about medications? Are
there any meds with specific, measurable effects on suicide prevention? Looking at the role
of meds in the high-risk patient, traditional thinking is: treat the underlying disorder, then
when the symptoms lessen, suicide risk goes down. Nothing wrong with that, but now there’s
the beginning of a new paradigm: treat the suicidal state directly, with less emphasis on
treating the diagnosis. 

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