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Cuadernos de Medicina Forense

versão On-line ISSN 1988-611Xversão impressa ISSN 1135-7606


SANTURTUN, M; SANTURTUN, A; AGUDO, G  e  ZARRABEITIA, MT. Suicide methods in Spain: poisoning and non-toxic violent agents. Cuad. med. forense [online]. 2016, vol.22, n.3-4, pp.73-80. ISSN 1988-611X.


Suicide is the second leading cause of death in young adults worldwide and the leading cause of violent death in Spain. Methods for committing suicide vary due to demographic and geographic factors. The present study analyzes the methods of suicide used over 13 years throughout Spain, and in particular in the region of Cantabria.

Material and methods

A retrospective study was carried out to study the methods of suicide chosen in Spain. Temporal trends were analyzed throughout the period, as well as differences according to age and sex.


Toxic agents were present in 9.8% of recorded suicides, being more commonly used by the women. Suicide by non-toxic violent agents have declined in recent years (p = 0.002). The geographical pattern in suicides according to the chosen method is heterogeneous. In Cantabria, suicide by hanging was the most commonly chosen method (50.2% of the total).


Toxic agents are relatively infrequent in self-inflicted deaths, which could be attributed to their lower lethality (compared to other active methods such as jumping from height or hanging) and to the effectiveness of medical measures against poisoning. The Boletín Estadístico de Defunción Judicial may not be a completely reliable source for conducting epidemiological studies, due to the cause of death being recorded by non-medical personnel without access to the full medical history of the patients.

Palavras-chave : Suicide; Poisoning; Hanging; Precipitation; Spain.

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