Suicidal Behavior in Alcohol-Dependent Subjects: The Role of Personality Disorders

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Comobidity of personality disorders (PDs) and alcohol dependence are considered to increase the risk for suicidal behavior. The aim of this study is to assess the influence of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder—fourth edition (DSM–IV) personality characteristics and comorbid axis I disorders on suicidal behavior in alcohol-dependent inpatients.


Characteristics of alcohol dependence and suicidal behavior were obtained using the Semi-Structured Assessment on Genetics in Alcoholism (SSAGA). Personality disorder characteristics were assessed using the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis II Disorders.


Three-hundred seventy-six treatment-seeking alcohol-dependent subjects, of whom 55% were diagnosed to have a PD and approximately 25% had a history of at least 1 suicide attempt, were enrolled into the study. Subjects with PDs in all clusters reported a higher rate of suicide attempt history, depression episodes, and depression during the most serious attempt. As indicated by univariate and multivarate analysis, this pattern of suicide attempt characteristics was most pronounced in borderline disordered subjects and alcoholic individuals who live alone.


Subjects with alcohol dependence who have various comorbid PDs and depression deserve special attention in psychiatric care to prevent suicide. Psychotherapeutic strategies may have to be adapted to treat this high-risk population.

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