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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.


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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