Talk to the Veterans Crisis Line now
U.S. flag
An official website of the United States government

VA Health Systems Research

Go to the VA ORD website
Go to the QUERI website

HSR Citation Abstract

Search | Search by Center | Search by Source | Keywords in Title

Comorbid anxiety as a suicide risk factor among depressed veterans.

Pfeiffer PN, Ganoczy D, Ilgen M, Zivin K, Valenstein M. Comorbid anxiety as a suicide risk factor among depressed veterans. Depression and anxiety. 2009 Jan 1; 26(8):752-7.

Dimensions for VA is a web-based tool available to VA staff that enables detailed searches of published research and research projects.

If you have VA-Intranet access, click here for more information

VA staff not currently on the VA network can access Dimensions by registering for an account using their VA email address.
   Search Dimensions for VA for this citation
* Don't have VA-internal network access or a VA email address? Try searching the free-to-the-public version of Dimensions


BACKGROUND: Depressive disorders greatly increase suicide risk; however, little is known about the contribution of comorbid anxiety disorders or anxiety symptoms to the risk of suicide death among depressed patients. We examined whether depressed veterans with comorbid anxiety had higher risks of suicide death. METHODS: Using VA administrative databases we identified 887,859 patients with depression. We then used univariate and multivariate logistic regression, controlling for demographics and substance use disorders, to determine the odds ratios of completed suicide associated with individual comorbid anxiety disorders, the presence of any comorbid anxiety disorder, the prescription of an antianxiety medication, or the prescription of a high dose of an antianxiety medication. RESULTS: In multivariate analyses, the odds of completed suicide were significantly increased for patients with panic disorder (OR 1.26, 95% CI: 1.04-1.53), generalized anxiety disorder (OR 1.27, 95% CI: 1.09-1.47), and anxiety disorder, not otherwise specified (OR 1.25, 95% CI: 1.12-1.38). The odds of completed suicide were also greater among patients who received any antianxiety medication (OR 1.71, 95% CI: 1.55-1.88), and were further increased among those who received high dose treatment (OR 2.26, 95% CI: 1.98-2.57). Odds of completed suicide were decreased among patients with comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder (OR 0.87, 95% CI: 0.77-0.97), and there was no statistically significant relationship between social phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and all other anxiety disorders and suicide. CONCLUSIONS: These findings emphasize the importance of comorbid anxiety disorders and symptoms in increasing suicide risk among depressed patients and may inform suicide prevention efforts among these patients.

Questions about the HSR website? Email the Web Team

Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.