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Alcohol use disorder ups suicide risk

20 Mar 2020

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is strongly associated with risk of suicide, and such association persists even after accounting for confounding factors, suggests a study.

In women and men with AUD, the lifetime suicide rate during the observation period was 3.54 percent and 3.94 percent, respectively, which was significantly higher than that of their counterparts without AUD (0.29 percent and 0.76 percent, respectively).

Adjusted analyses revealed a consistently robust association between AUD and suicide (range of hazard ratios across observation periods: 2.61–128.0 among women and 2.44–28.0 among men). In co-relative analyses, familial confounding accounted for some, but not all, of the observed association.

Moreover, a significant and potentially robust association persisted after accounting for a history of other psychiatric diagnoses.

“These findings underscore the impact of AUD on suicide risk, even in the context of other mental illness, and implicate the time frame shortly after a medical or criminal AUD registration as critical for efforts to reduce alcohol-related suicide,” the authors said.

This study evaluated the link between AUD and suicide risk before and after accounting for psychiatric comorbidity. It also determined the extent to which the observed association was driven by a potentially causal mechanism or genetic and familial environmental confounding factors that elevated risk for both.

The authors utilized longitudinal population-wide Swedish medical, criminal and pharmacy registries to assess the risk of death by suicide as a function of AUD history. Prospective cohort and co-relative analyses were performed using data on 2,229,880 native Swedes born between 1950 and 1970 and observed from age 15 years until 2012.

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