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Soc Psychiatry Psychiatr Epidemiol. 2014 Sep;49(9):1379-87. doi: 10.1007/s00127-014-0886-0. Epub 2014 May 6.

Risk for suicidal behaviors associated with alcohol and energy drink use in the US Army.

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Department of Psychiatry, Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD, USA,



Suicidal behaviors have increased in the US Army since 2005. To identify potential interventions for suicide risk, we examined the relationship between alcohol and energy drink use, independently and in combination, and rates of seriously considering and/or attempting suicide in US Army soldiers.


This study used the DoD Survey of Health Related Behaviors Among Active Duty Military Personnel (DoD HRB), which sampled 10,400 Army soldiers, with 5,927 responses representing 508,088 soldiers. Use of energy drinks in combination with alcohol (A/ED) and average daily amount of alcohol consumption over the past 30 days and history of seriously considering and/or attempting suicide in the past year were assessed via self-report questions.


Six percent of Army service members reported either seriously considering and/or attempting suicide in the past year. Twenty-six percent of soldiers reported A/ED. Those who reported the highest level of alcohol use were more likely to have seriously considered and/or attempted suicide. Soldiers who reported daily A/ED were over three times more likely to have reported suicidal ideation or attempts, and even after adjusting for overall alcohol consumption and energy drink use alone remained approximately two times (OR = 1.99) more likely to report suicidality.


Combination alcohol and energy drink use and heavy alcohol use contribute to suicidality and may be targets for potential intervention to address suicide risk.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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