The role of substance use disorders in the transition from suicide attempt to suicide death: A record linkage study of a Swedish cohort
Edwards, A.C., Ohlsson, H., Sundquist, J., Crump, C. Moscicki, E., Sundquist, K., & Kendler, K.S.
Background: Suicidal behavior and substance use disorders (SUDs) are important public health concerns. Prior suicide attempts and SUDs are two of the most consistent predictors of suicide death, and clarifying the role of SUDs in the transition from suicide attempt to suicide death could inform prevention efforts. Methods: We used national Swedish registry data to identify individuals born 1960-1985, with an index suicide attempt in 1997-2017 (N = 74 873; 46.7% female). We assessed risk of suicide death as a function of registration for a range of individual SUDs. We further examined whether the impact of SUDs varied as a function of (i) aggregate genetic liability to suicidal behavior, or (ii) age at index suicide attempt. Results: In univariate models, risk of suicide death was higher among individuals with any SUD registration [hazard ratios (HRs) = 2.68-3.86]. In multivariate models, effects of specific SUDs were attenuated, but remained elevated for AUD (HR = 1.86 95% confidence intervals 1.68-2.05), opiates [HR = 1.58 (1.37-1.82)], sedatives [HR = 1.93 (1.70-2.18)], and multiple substances [HR = 2.09 (1.86-2.35)]. In secondary analyses, the effects of most, but not all, SUD were exacerbated by higher levels of genetic liability to suicide death, and among individuals who were younger at their index suicide attempt. Conclusions: In the presence of a strong predictor of suicide death - a prior attempt - substantial predictive power is still attributable to SUDs. Individuals with SUDs may warrant additional suicide screening and prevention efforts, particularly in the context of a family history of suicidal behavior or early onset of suicide attempt.