Does severe anxiety disorder and panic disorder increase the risk for suicidal behavior?

Updated: Mar 27, 2019
  • Author: Nita V Bhatt, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Answer

Severe anxiety disorders may be complicated by suicide, with or without secondary mood disorders (eg, depression). The Epidemiological Catchment Area study found that panic disorder was associated with suicide attempts (odds ratio = 18 compared with populations without psychiatric disorders). How much of the association of panic disorder with suicide is mediated through the association of panic disorder with mood and substance abuse disorders is unclear. Acute stress may play a role in producing suicidal behavior. The presence of any anxiety disorder, phobias included, in combination with a mood disorder appears to increase likelihood of suicide attempts compared with a mood disorder alone. [34] Suicide attempts can be precipitated by adverse life events such as divorce or financial disaster. The effects of acute stress in producing suicidal behavior are increased in those with underlying mood, anxiety, and substance abuse problems.


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