Sex-specific factors associated with lifetime suicide attempt among patients with alcohol use disorders
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionBJPsych Open. 2022, 8 (4), 1-7. 10.1192/bjo.2022.545
Background: Patients with alcohol use disorder (AUD) are at high risk for suicide attempts. Mental health problems along with AUD-related factors may contribute to this increased risk. Studies have shown sex differences in rates and correlates of suicide attempts. Aims: The purpose of the study was to examine mental-health-related and AUD-related factors associated with suicide attempt separately in female and male AUD patients. Method: We collected information about lifetime suicide attempt and mental-health- and AUD-related factors for AUD in-patients (n = 114; 32 females) receiving rehabilitative treatment. Results: The prevalence of lifetime suicide attempt was 27%, and the rate was similar in both sexes. Among females, current depressive symptoms and current post-traumatic stress disorder diagnosis were associated with suicide attempt. In male AUD patients, among the mental-health-related factors, lifetime major depression, panic disorder, social phobia, childhood sexual abuse and antisocial personality disorder were associated with suicide attempt. In addition, AUD-related factors including longer duration of drinking, history of delirium tremens, greater severity of AUD and lower levels of prolactin were associated with suicide attempt in males. Conclusions: Our results indicate that suicide attempts in female AUD patients were more mental-health-related, whereas those in males were also related to the severity of AUD. This suggests that a suicide prevention programme for AUD patients would benefit from a sex-based understanding of the risk factors.