The Relationship Between Childhood Abuse and Suicidality in Adult Bipolar Disorder

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This study evaluates the effect of childhood sexual and physical abuse on suicidality in adults with bipolar disorder. We conducted a retrospective chart review of adult outpatients (N = 381) with DSM-IV-TR-defined bipolar disorder seeking evaluation and treatment at an academic specialty research program (i.e., Mood Disorders Pharmacology Unit, University Health Network, University of Toronto) between October 2002 and November 2005. Eighteen percent (n = 68) of adult patients with bipolar disorder had a recorded history of childhood abuse (p = 0.009). Sixty-three percent (n = 43) of bipolar patients with a history of childhood abuse reported lifetime suicidality (χ2 = 6.885, df = 1, p = 0.009). Logistic regression analysis indicated that Childhood abuse was a significant predictor of lifetime suicidality in adult bipolar patients (OR = 2.05, CI = 1.19-3.510). Childhood abuse is associated with suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in adults with bipolar disorder. Anamnestic inquiry regarding childhood maltreatment is salient to risk assessment, illness management planning, preventative strategies, and treatment interventions in bipolar disorder.

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