Suicidality in Subjects With Anxiety or Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders: Recent Advances

  • Diego De La Vega
  • Lucas Giner
  • Philippe Courtet
Anxiety Disorders (A Pelissolo)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Anxiety Disorders


Purpose of Review

Historically, anxiety disorders have not been considered as important determinants of suicide, but in the last years, many works have challenged this assumption. Here, we will review the available evidence on the relationship between suicide and anxiety disorders (e.g., obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and body dysmorphic disorder), with special emphasis on findings published in the last years.

Recent Findings

Overall, anxiety disorders increase the risk of suicide. Specifically, 16% of patients with social anxiety disorder reported suicidal ideation in the previous month, and 18% of them had a history of suicide attempts. Similarly, in patients with panic disorder, suicidal ideation prevalence ranged between 17 and 32%, and 33% of them had a history of suicide attempts. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) was the most frequent anxiety disorder in completed suicides (present in 3% of people who committed suicide) and also subthreshold GAD was clearly linked to suicide ideation. Post-traumatic stress disorder was positively associated with suicidal ideation, and in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder, suicide ideation rates ranged from 10 to 53% and suicide attempts from 1 to 46%. Body dysmorphic disorders presented a suicide ideation prevalence of about 80%.


Suicide risk is increased in subjects with anxiety disorder. This risk is higher in the presence of comorbidities, but it is not clear whether it is independent from such comorbidities in some disorders.


Suicide Suicidal behavior Suicide attempt Anxiety disorders Generalized anxiety disorder Obsessive-compulsive disorder Body dysmorphic disorder Panic disorder Post-traumatic stress disorder 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Diego De La Vega, Lucas Giner, and Philippe Courtet declare no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diego De La Vega
    • 1
  • Lucas Giner
    • 2
  • Philippe Courtet
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Unidad de Hospitalización de Salud Mental, Unidad de Gestión Clínica de Salud Mental del Hospital Virgen Macarena, Servicio Andaluz de SaludSevillaSpain
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry, School of MedicineUniversidad de SevillaSevilleSpain
  3. 3.CHRU Montpellier, University of Montpellier, INSERM unit 1061MontpellierFrance
  4. 4.Fondamental FoundationCréteilFrance

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