JOURNAL ARTICLE

Psychiatric disorders and attempted suicide among adolescents with substance use disorders

Thomas M Kelly, Jack R Cornelius, Duncan B Clark
Drug and Alcohol Dependence 2004 January 7, 73 (1): 87-97
14687963

OBJECTIVE: To determine the effects of psychiatric disorders on attempted suicide among adolescents with substance use disorders (SUD).

METHODS: Age of onset for psychiatric disorders, age of first suicide attempt, and the relationship of psychiatric disorder with attempted suicide were investigated in a sample of 503 adolescents with DSM-IV defined SUD (age range: 12.2-19.0 years).

RESULTS: Males who attempted suicide had a significantly earlier onset of alcohol use disorders (AUD) and significantly more mood, AUD, and disruptive behavior disorder symptoms compared to non-attempting males. Females who attempted suicide had a significantly earlier onset and higher counts of mood disorders and SUD symptoms compared to non-attempting females. Hazard analysis revealed that mood disorders represent the highest psychiatric risk for attempted suicide in both the genders. Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) increased the risk for attempted suicide among males. The interaction of mood disorder and AUD increased the risk for attempted suicide among females.

CONCLUSIONS: Clinicians should closely monitor SUD adolescents for suicide risk and be aware of gender differences for suicidal behavior based on course and severity of psychiatric disorder in this population.

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