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Alcoholics with a borderline personality disorder are at greatest risk for suicidal behavior

  • Compared to the general population, individuals with alcohol-use disorders (AUDs) have a significantly greater risk of suicide attempts.
  • New research examines the impact of all personality disorders (PDs) on the risk of a suicide attempt among individuals with AUDs.
  • Alcoholics with a borderline personality disorder and those who live alone are at highest risk.

Compared to the general population, individuals with alcohol-use disorders (AUDs) have a significantly greater risk of suicide attempts. Up to 40 percent of treatment-seeking patients with AUDs report having attempted suicide, which is six to 10 times greater than suicide attempts among the general population. In the May issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, researchers examine the impact of the full range of personality disorders (PDs) on the risk of a suicide attempt among individuals with AUDs, finding that those with co-occurring alcoholism and borderline PD have the highest risk.

"We knew from previous research that both alcohol dependence and personality disorders are significant risk factors for suicidal behavior," said Ulrich W. Preuss, assistant professor of psychiatry at Martin-Luther-University of Halle, Germany. "However, how each affects the other or interact together, this was not researched."

Kenneth R. Conner, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center, concurs. "There are meager data on the contribution of most personality disorders to attempted suicide among individuals treated intensively for alcohol dependence, a high-risk population," he said. "This study is highly unusual in that all of the current personality disorders were assessed using a credible research interview in a large alcohol-dependent sample."

Researchers recruited 376 (303 males, 73 females) inpatients from an alcohol-dependence treatment ward in Germany. All patients were 18 years of age o
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23-Apr-2006


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