Alexithymia and suicide ideation in a sample of patients with binge eating disorder.J Psychiatr Pract. 2012 Jan; 18(1):5-11.JP
The goal of this cross-sectional study was to evaluate the relationships between alexithymia and suicide ideation in 80 adult outpatients with a DSM-IV diagnosis of binge eating disorder (BED).
Alexithymia was measured with the 20-item Toronto Alexithymia Scale (TAS-20); suicide ideation was assessed with the Scale of Suicide Ideation (SSI); severity of BED was assessed with the Binge Eating Scale (BES); and depressive and anxiety symptoms were evaluated, respectively, with the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) and the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (Ham-A).
Prevalence of current suicide ideation was 27.5% (n = 22) in this sample and 10 subjects (12.5%) had attempted suicide at some time in their lives. Subjects with alexithymia had more significant suicide ideation, a higher prevalence of current suicide ideation, and more previous suicide attempts than those without alexithymia. In a linear regression model, higher MADRS scores and higher scores on the Difficulty in Identifying Feelings/Difficulty in Describing Feelings dimensions of the TAS-20 were associated with increased suicide ideation.
Suicidal behavior is no less common in BED than in other eating disorders. Individuals with BED may show increased suicide ideation, especially in the presence of alexithymia and depressive symptoms, even if these symptoms are subclinical. The authors also discuss limitations of this study and future research needs.