PTSD suicide rates uncovered, and women are most at risk

11 January 2021

Women with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are nearly seven times more likely than other women to die by suicide, research has found.

Men with a prior PTSD diagnosis are four times more likely to die by suicide, revealed the study of more than three million people in Sweden.

The average time between PTSD diagnosis and suicide was less than two and a half years, showing the need to treat PTSD quickly, say the authors.

The research – published in the Journal of Affective Disorders – was led by a team at University College London (UCL) and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.

Previous studies have also found PTSD to be a risk factor for suicide, but the large sample size led to the researchers finding gender differences.

Dr Alexandra Pitman of UCL said: ‘Investing in mental health resources can save lives, as we expect that if more people were treated effectively for PTSD, suicides could be prevented.’

She also said there was ‘an urgent need for more research into these gender differences’.

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