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Arch Suicide Res. 2008;12(1):30-8. doi: 10.1080/13811110701800699.

Characteristics of suicide attempts preceded by alcohol consumption.

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Department of Psychiatry, Bichat-Claude Bernard Hospital, Paris, France.


Acute alcohol ingestion and alcohol dependence are known to increase the risk of impulsive suicide attempt even in non-depressed patients. The relation between alcohol and suicide risk needs, however, to be clarified. We assessed for this purpose prevalence of recent alcohol intake among suicide attempters and compared suicide attempts preceded ("Alcohol + ") or not by alcohol intake. We included 160 patients examined in the emergency service of a French general hospital after a suicide attempt. Psychiatric disorders were identified according to the DSM-IV criteria. Patients were rated for depression and alcohol use disorder (MAST). Prevalence of alcohol consumption was 40%. Patients from the "Alcohol + " group were significantly older (40 versus 34.8 years, p = 0.03). Alcohol abuse was more frequent among suicide attempters with prior alcohol ingestion (49% versus 12%,). Alcohol dependence was also more frequent in the "Alcohol + " group (43% versus 9%). Patients from the "Alcohol + " group drank more alcohol each day (6.1 versus 1.3 drinks) and more often during the week (3.6 days per week versus 1.4). They had a higher number of alcohol intoxications each week (0.9 versus 0.3). They drank more often alone (41% versus 12%, p < 0.005) and in the morning (21% versus 3%). They had higher scores on the Michigan Alcohol Screening test (14.8 versus 2.9). Prevalence of drug dependence was higher in the "Alcohol + " group (21% versus 3%, respectively). Suicide attempts must be asked about their recent alcohol intake. This alcohol intake is often the symptom of an alcohol abuse or dependence disorder.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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