Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Mental disorders and risk of suicide in veterans
Researchers from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Healthcare System and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor have been looking into the links between mental disorders and suicide in U.S. military veterans. They studied more than 3 million veterans who had received any type of care in a VA facility in 1999. They looked at their psychiatric diagnoses from their 1998 and 1999 treatment records and followed them over a seven-year period. By the end of the study 7,684 veterans had killed themselves. 46.8% of those who committed suicide had at least one psychiatric diagnosis and all of the diagnoses studied - depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, drug abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety - led to an increased risk of suicide. In men bipolar disorder was associated with the greatest risk of suicide while in the women drug abuse was - overall bipolar disorder led to the greatest increase in risk.