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By On March 4th, 2009

Youths diagnosed with PTSD at higher risk for suicide

According to findings from a study recently published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, inner city youths diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are at a much higher risk for suicidality. According the study, which examined individuals between the ages of 20 to 23 years of age, inner city youths with PTSD are at almost three times the risk of suicide. The authors of the study, commenting on the findings stated, “The major finding of this study is that PTSD, but not trauma, is an independent predictor of a subsequent suicide attempt in this sample.” Among teens without a history of trauma there was no increase of risk for suicide compared to general populations. The following is an excerpt of an article from Medpage Today that reviews the findings in more depth:

The study involved participants in a cohort study that enrolled some 2,300 Baltimore first-graders in 1985 and 1986, about half boys and 67% African-American and other nonwhite ethnicities.

About 1,700 were interviewed extensively when they were 20 to 23 years old. Of those, 1,570 were included in the current study. They included 297 with no reported trauma exposure, 1,173 with exposure but no PTSD, and 100 with PTSD.

In all, 6% of the cohort available for the follow-up interviews had developed PTSD.

Of those with the condition, 10 (10%) told the interviewers that they had attempted suicide at some point in their lives.

There were 29 attempts among the 1,173 with trauma exposure but without PTSD (2.4%), and 16 of the 297 with no trauma exposure attempted suicide (5.4%).

The significance of PTSD as a risk factor remained strong after adjusting for history of major depression, alcohol abuse or dependence, and drug abuse or dependence, the researchers said.

But when they stratified their sample according to whether PTSD stemmed from assaultive victimhood — being raped, beaten, shot, stabbed, held captive, or threatened with a weapon — versus other types of traumatic stress, they found that only the former was a significant factor in suicidality.

Click here to read the rest of this article from Medpage Today

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