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Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2004 Mar-Apr;26(2):129-35.

Suicide attempts and suicidal ideation: links with psychiatric comorbidity in eating disorder subjects.

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  • 1Psychiatric Department, University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland. grabriella.milos@psy.usz.ch


Additional psychiatric disorders in eating disorders patients may contribute to the risk of suicide and suicide attempts. The aim of this study was to examine associations between Axes I and II comorbidity and suicidality in a large sample of women currently suffering from an eating disorder (ED). In a sample of 288 women (87 anorexia nervosa, 158 bulimia nervosa, 43 eating disorders not otherwise specified) psychiatric comorbidity of Axes I and II was determined using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV. Histories of attempted suicide were explored in a structured interview. Suicidal ideation was determined by means of the SCL-90. Past suicide attempts were reported by 26%. Subjects with a purging type ED more frequently had a history of attempted suicide than subjects with a nonpurging type ED. A history of suicide attempts was associated with higher levels of Axes I and II comorbidity, in particular with affective disorders and Cluster B personality disorders. Current suicidal ideation was generally linked with higher levels of all types of Axes I and II comorbidity. Eating disorders are serious psychiatric disorders associated with high levels of comorbidity and suicidality. Incorporating a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation into the clinical assessment of ED patients is important for the assessment of suicidality and for the provision of adequate treatments.

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