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Suicidal ideation and suicide attempts among patients with panic disorder: a survey of two outpatient clinics
Am J Psychiatry 1992;149:680-685.
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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: Recent epidemiologic studies found that 20% of subjects with the diagnosis of panic disorder had attempted suicide. This study sought to determine the prevalence of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts among patients with panic disorder and whether the presence of comorbid borderline personality disorder influenced the prevalence of suicidal thoughts and behavior. METHOD: At two outpatient clinics, experienced clinicians conducted retrospective reviews of data from the intake interviews and charts of 59 patients with panic disorder and comorbid borderline personality disorder and 234 patients with panic disorder with or without axis II disorders other than borderline personality disorder. RESULTS: Suicide attempts were reported by 2% of the patients with panic disorder, compared to 25% of the patients with both panic disorder and borderline personality disorder. In addition, 2% of the patients with panic disorder, compared to 27% of the patients with panic disorder and borderline personality disorder, reported suicidal ideation that was judged to be of clinical significance. CONCLUSIONS: The rate of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts for psychiatric outpatients with panic disorder was discrepant with the findings of the earlier studies. The increased suicide risk in this group of patients was associated with borderline personality disorder, increased substance abuse, and affective instability. While 61% of the panic disorder patients and 78% of the patients with both panic disorder and borderline personality disorder reported thinking about death, this must be distinguished from actual suicidal ideation and clinical risk of suicide.

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