Year: 2021 Source: International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice. (2020). 24(3). Published online 6 July 2020. SIEC No: 20210055

Background: There are limited data on suicidal behaviour in obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This study aimed to evaluate several aspects affecting suicidality in OCD patients and determine whether impulsivity or hostility are associated with suicide attempts in this vulnerable group.

Methods: Eighty-one patients with OCD were assessed by structured clinical interview for DSM-IV (SCID I), Yale-Brown Obsessive–Compulsive Scale (Y-BOCS), Suicide Probability Scale (SPS), Barratt impulsivity scale-11 (BIS) and Scale for suicide ideation (SSI).

Results: Of the 81 patients, 22 (27%) had suicide ideation, 29 (33%) attempted suicides with OCD and 30 (37%) OCD patients who never experienced suicide ideation nor attempted suicide. Suicide ideation was associated with high hopelessness, higher severity of OCD and the presence of aggressive obsessions. On the other hand, suicide attempts were associated with longer duration of untreated illness, cognitive impulsivity, higher severity of OCD symptoms and the presence of religious obsessions.

Conclusion: Higher severity of OCD symptoms is associated with both suicide ideation and attempts. And while hopelessness was related to suicidal thoughts, cognitive impulsivity may have acted as a facilitating factor for suicide attempts. Higher frequency of symptoms like religious/ aggressive obsessions was also associated with suicidality. It is vital that patients with OCD undergo detailed assessment for suicide risk.