Prevalence, course, and determinants of suicide ideation and attempts in patients with a depressive and/or anxiety disorder: A review of NESDA findings

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Background: Depressive and anxiety disorders are often associated with suicide ideation (SI) and attempt (SA). However, analyses of prevalence, course, and more specific risk mechanisms are needed to improve knowledge and detection of high risk individuals with depressive and anxiety disorders. Previous studies often lacked statistical power, assessment of detailed determinants and follow-up measurements. Methods: The Netherlands Study of Depression and Anxiety (NESDA), a large cohort study, overcomes some earlier limitations. Scale for Suicide Ideation and Compositive Interview Diagnostic Instrument data were analyzed to report on prevalence of SI and SA. Additionally, important sociodemographic, clinical, psychological, environmental, and neurobiological determinants and course of SI and SA identified in depressive and/or anxiety disorder respondents in 16 NESDA articles were summarized. Results: Within respondents with 12-month diagnosis (n=1,783), SI and 12-month SA prevalence ranged from 17.1-20.1% and 0.8-3.0% respectively across 5 waves during 9-year follow-up and SI was highly recurrent. Both SI and SA were especially associated with comorbid depression and anxiety, higher clinical severity, sleep dysfunctions, higher aggression and hopelessness, and childhood trauma. In the (neuro)biological domain, SI was linked with immune dysregulation and SA with abnormal brain activity during emotion processing and genetic risk. Limitations: Most articles were cross-sectional in nature, preventing causal inferences and no conclusions could be drawn about the overall magnitude of results. Conclusion: SI and SA are multifactorial phenomena and especially prevalent amongst comorbid depressive and anxiety respondents. Considering many overlapping SI and SA determinants, more neurobiological determinants and use of innovative methodological techniques are desirable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-277
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2021

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