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Eur Psychiatry. 2001 Nov;16(7):410-7.

Biological markers for suicidal behavior in alcohol dependence.

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Hôpital Louis Mourier (AP-HP), Service de Psychiatrie, 178 rue des Renouillers, 92700 Colombes, France.


Alcohol-dependent populations have a high lifetime suicide rate (between 7 and 15%, relative risk = 7), and alcoholism is one of the two psychiatric disorders most frequently found in suicidal cases (between 15 and 25%). Biological factors that would detect patients at risk could thus be of value. Carbohydrate-deficient transferrin, monoamine oxidase B, soluble interleukin-2 receptor and cholesterol have been proposed as markers of suicidal risk in alcohol-dependent patients, although nonspecific and with low predictive value. On the other hand, there is large and convergent data stressing the importance of serotonin dysregulation as increasing the risk for aggressive behaviour toward the self, although it is not clear whether serotonin is involved through the altered behavior inhibition system, enhancement of anxiety and depression, or association with specific subtypes of alcohol-dependence, such as early-onset type II alcoholism. Considering the complex but significant impact of alcohol on serotonin metabolism and turnover, it is likely that serotonin mediates a large part of the proneness of ethanol to commit impulsive-aggressive behavior.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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