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Characteristics of Opiate Dependent Patients Who Attempt Suicide

J Clin Psychiatry 2002;63:403-407

Objective: To describe the characteristics of opiate dependent patients who attempt suicide.

Method: Opiate dependent patients (DSM-IV criteria) who had (N=105) or had not (N=141) attempted suicide were compared for family history of suicide, childhood trauma, personality traits, and experience of comorbidity with cocaine and/or alcohol dependence, major depressive disorder, and physical disorder.

Results: Significantly more opiate dependent patients who had attempted suicide were female (p<.0001) and unemployed (p<.0006). Patients who had attempted suicide reported significantly more family history of suicide and more childhood trauma; scored significantly higher for introversion, hostility, and neuroticism; and had experienced significantly more comorbidity with lifetime cocaine and alcohol dependence, major depressive disorder, and current physical disorder (p<.05 for all).

Conclusion: Suicidal behavior in opiate dependent patients may involve risk factors from the family, childhood, personality, psychiatric, and physical domains.