OBJECTIVE: Previous investigators found that persons who had ever met
criteria for panic disorder or panic attacks reported more lifetime suicide
attempts and ideation than persons who had ever met criteria for other
psychiatric disorders. To determine whether outpatients with current panic
disorders also report such differences, this study examined the suicide
attempt rates, levels of suicidal ideation, and levels of hopelessness
among four groups of psychiatric outpatients. METHOD: Structured clinical
interviews were used to assign diagnoses to 900 consecutive psychiatric
outpatients. These patients were administered the Scale for Suicide
Ideation and the Beck Hopelessness Scale and were also questioned in detail
about previous suicide attempts and past and present suicidal ideation.
RESULTS: None (0.0%) of the 73 patients with primary panic disorder without
agoraphobia reported having made suicide attempts during their lifetimes.
One (1.3%) of the 78 patients who had panic disorder with agoraphobia, 34
(7.0%) of the 485 patients who had mood disorders, and four (1.5%) of the
264 patients who had other psychiatric disorders reported suicide attempts.
The mean scores on the Scale for Suicide Ideation and the Beck Hopelessness
Scale of the patients with panic disorders and other disorders were
significantly lower than the mean scores of the patients with mood
disorders. CONCLUSIONS: The rates of suicidal ideation and behavior for
psychiatric outpatients who had panic disorders were discrepant with those
reported by the earlier group of investigators for a random community
sample of persons who reported ever having had panic attacks or met
criteria for panic disorders.