According to the results of a study published in European Psychiatry, comorbid anxiety disorders among patients with depression or bipolar disorder were not associated with suicide attempts.

In a 2-year prospective study, researchers evaluated 667 participants with major depression or bipolar disorder for suicide attempts, depression, and anxiety at 3, 12, and 24 months. The results were compared among patients with lifetime comorbid anxiety disorders (n=229) and those without (n=438). Anxiety disorders included panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, social phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and agoraphobia.

A total of 480 patients completed all 3 follow-up sessions. Overall, 85 suicide attempts were made by 63 patients (13.1%) during the 2-year follow-up.

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Patients with comorbid anxiety disorders had similar survival curves compared with patients without comorbid anxiety disorders (P =.6). Similarly, no difference was noted when participants were stratified by the number of comorbid anxiety disorders (0, 1, or >2; P =.8).

Suicide attempts during the study period were associated with female sex (hazard ratio [HR] = 3.66; P =.001), previous suicide attempts (HR =3.27; P =.001), and higher scores on the Buss-Durkee Hostility Inventory (HR = 1.05; P <.001).

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The investigators concluded that “the presence of comorbid anxiety disorders does not seem to be a risk factor for suicide attempts in patients with mood disorders, although patients with anxiety disorders had [significantly] higher scores for depression, hopelessness, suicidal ideation, impulsivity, aggression, and hostility, all risk factors for suicide attempts.”


Abreu LN, Oquendo MA, Galfavy H, et al. Are comorbid anxiety disorders a risk factor for suicide attempts in patients with mood disorders? A two-year prospective studyEur Psychiatry. 2017; 47:19-24.