Depressed Suicide Attempters with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

Posttraumatic stress disorder and major depressive disorder are well-established risk factors for suicidal behaviour. This study compared depressed suicide attempters with and without comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder with respect to additional diagnoses, global functioning, depressive symptoms, substance abuse, history of traumatic exposure and suicidal behaviour. Adult patients consecutively admitted to a general hospital after a suicide attempt were interviewed and assessed for DSM-IV diagnosis and clinical correlates. Sixty-four patients (71%) were diagnosed with depression; of them, 21 patients (32%) had posttraumatic stress disorder. There were no group differences in social adjustment, depressive symptoms, or suicidal intent. However, the group with comorbid depression and posttraumatic stress disorder had more additional Axis I diagnoses, a higher degree of childhood trauma exposure, and more often reported previous suicide attempts, non-suicidal self-harm and vengeful suicidal motives. These findings underline the clinical importance of diagnosis and treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder in suicide attempters.

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