Serum lipids and risk factors for attempted suicide in patients with alcohol dependence.Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2006 Mar; 30(3):460-5.AC
Alcohol dependence is a major risk factor for suicidal behavior. Although a number of risk factors have been suggested there is still no well-defined risk profile for attempted suicide in alcoholic patients. Alterations of serum lipids have been associated with completed as well as attempted suicide and with suicidal ideation. This study investigated potential demographic and clinical risk factors for attempted suicide in alcohol-dependent patients taking serum lipids additionally into consideration.
One-hundred ten alcohol-dependent patients who were admitted to a psychiatric university hospital department for inpatient treatment were grouped according to whether or not they had a lifetime history of attempted suicide. Attempters versus nonattempters as well as attempters who used a violent versus a nonviolent suicide method were compared.
Patients who had attempted suicide at least once in their life differed significantly from those who had no history of suicide attempts. Univariate analyses showed that they were younger (41.7 years vs 46.8 years; p = 0.003), were more often smokers (97% vs 77%; p = 0.011), had more frequently coabused benzodiazepines (54% vs 17%; p = 0.002), and scored currently higher on the Montgomery and Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) global scale (26.3 vs 20.2; p = 0.005) as well as the "suicidal thoughts" item (1.8 vs 0.6; p = 0.001). Additionally, they had higher serum triglyceride levels (178.9 vs 127.5; p = 0.039). A logistic regression analysis left coabuse of benzodiazepines [odds ratio (OR), 5.26; p = 0.001], younger age (OR per year increase of age, 0.91; p = 0.006), and current MADRS item 10 ("suicidal thoughts") score (OR per point increase in MADRS item 10 score, 1.43; p = 0.019) as significant factors. Suicide attempters who had used a violent method were significantly more often male (82% vs 44%; p = 0.035), were younger (38.2% vs 45.1 years; p = 0.008), and had less frequently coabused tranquilizers (35% vs 78%; p = 0.018) than nonviolent attempters.
These findings contribute to the development of a more specific profile of alcohol-dependent individuals at risk for suicidal behavior. Further research is required to determine the role of serum triglycerides for suicidal behavior in patients with alcohol dependence.