Year: 2022 Source: Archives of Suicide Research. (2022). 26(3), 1314-1326. SIEC No: 20220825

Hypermobile Ehlers–Danlos syndrome (hEDS) is the most frequent heritable disorder of the connective tissue. This is characterized by a generalized fragility of tissues leading to chronic pain, disability and high levels of psychological distress. Suicidal behaviors in those affected are not uncommon but they have not been well studied. We aimed to explore aspects of suicidality and related factors in a group of patients with hEDS.
Thirty-five women with hEDS were included in this cross-sectional study. They were assessed with the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview for Axis 1 DSM-IV mental disorders and suicidality. They also responded to self-questionnaires assessing health (pain, BMI, and diagnosis delay) and psychosocial variables (social support, physical functioning, coping strategies, personality disturbances, and resilience).
Eleven patients (31.4%) had attempted suicide in the past. Fifteen patients (42.9%) had some degree of suicide risk at the time of evaluation, mainly mild risk (60%). Compared with patients without a history of suicide attempt, those who had attempted suicide were younger, scored higher on personality disturbances, especially on depressive, avoidant, antisocial, and borderline trait subscores, and had an increased prevalence of lifetime major depression, mania/hypomanic episodes, and anxiety disorders (p < .05). Binary logistic regression showed that personality disturbances and anxiety disorders increase the probability of belonging to the attempters group.
Consistent with previous reports, these data highlight the high frequency of suicidal behaviors in hEDS patients as well as the importance to explore psychopathology in those affected in order to identify vulnerable individuals and provide specific support.