The relationship between eating disorders and suicide experiences: results from a nationally representative sample
Henriksen, Christine A.
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Eating disorders are a significant health concern due to their high rates of comorbidity, mortality, and the physical and mental distress they cause. While many people are aware of the negative effects eating disorders have on physical and mental health, few realize that suicide is a potential outcome. Although the relationships between eating disorders and suicidality have been examined in clinical populations with anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, these relationships have not been examined in the general population, nor with binge eating disorder. This study aimed to investigate these relationships in the Collaborative Psychiatric Epidemiologic Surveys (CPES, N=20,013), a large, nationally representative sample of adults in the United States. Logistic regression analyses revealed that individuals with a history of each eating disorder reported higher rates of suicide ideation and suicide attempts. Rates of suicide experiences among this population are similar to individuals with a history of major depression and a comorbid anxiety disorder. It is clear from this study that suicide remains a significant concern for individuals suffering from an eating disorder in the general population. It is essential that clinicians screen for suicide experiences in individuals suspected of suffering from an eating disorder.