Attempted suicide and alcoholism in bipolar disorder: clinical and familial relationships.

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.
American Journal of Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 13.56). 01/2001; 157(12):2048-50. DOI: 10.1176/appi.ajp.157.12.2048
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT This study examined the clinical and familial relationships between comorbid alcoholism and attempted suicide in affectively ill relatives of probands with bipolar I disorder.
In 71 families ascertained for a genetic linkage study, 337 subjects with major affective disorder were assessed by using the Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia-Lifetime Version.
Subjects with bipolar disorder and alcoholism had a 38.4% lifetime rate of attempted suicide, whereas those without alcoholism had a 21.7% rate. Attempted suicide among subjects with bipolar disorder and alcoholism clustered in a subset of seven families. Families with alcoholic and suicidal probands had a 40.7% rate of attempted suicide in first-degree relatives with bipolar disorder, whereas other families had a 19.0% rate.
Comorbid alcoholism was associated with a higher rate of attempted suicide among family members with bipolar disorder. Attempted suicide and alcoholism clustered in a subset of families. These relationships may have a genetic origin and may be mediated by intoxication, mixed states, and/or temperamental instability.

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