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Richards JE, Shortreed SM, Simon GE, Penfold RB, Glass JE, Ziebell R, Williams EC. Short-term risk of suicide attempt associated with patterns of patient-reported alcohol use determined by routine AUDIT-C among adults receiving mental healthcare. General hospital psychiatry. 2020 Jan 1; 62:79-86.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the association between alcohol use routinely reported during outpatient mental healthcare visits and short-term risk of subsequent suicide attempt. METHODS: Using a longitudinal retrospective-cohort design, electronic health records identified adult outpatient visits to a mental health provider (1/1/2010-6/30/2015) at Kaiser Permanente Washington with a documented Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test-Consumption [AUDIT-C]. Suicide attempts within 90 days of AUDIT-C documentation were defined using death certificate cause-of-death and diagnosis codes (non-lethal). Visit-level analyses used generalized estimating equations to account for correlation between multiple AUDIT-Cs for individuals. Separate models evaluated the association between (1) level of consumption and (2) frequency of heavy drinking episodes and suicide attempts, adjusted for visit year, demographics, depressive symptom, and suicidal ideation. RESULTS: Of 59,382 patient visits, 0.62% (N = 371) were followed by a suicide attempt within 90 days. Patients reporting high-level alcohol use were 1.77 times (95% CI, 1.22-2.57) more likely to attempt suicide than those reporting low-level use. Patients reporting daily or almost daily heavy drinking episodes were 2.33 times (95% CI, 1.38-3.93) more likely to attempt suicide than those reporting none. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: The AUDIT-C is a valuable tool for assessing patterns of patient-reported alcohol use associated with subsequent suicide attempt.