Suicide and self-harm

How is suicide and self-harm related to PTSD?

There has been much research dedicated to determining potential risk factors for suicide, which may have clinically important applications for prevention. Many of the important risk factors for suicide in the general population can also apply to people with PTSD, including suffering from depression or having a history of previous suicide attempts or ideation. However, factors specific to PTSD, such as exposure to trauma, may also contribute to an increased risk of suicide or self-harm.

What is the evidence for suicide and self-harm in people with PTSD?

Moderate quality evidence finds a large effect that people with PTSD are more likely to report suicidal behaviours, particularly ideation and suicide attempts, than people without PTSD. People with PTSD and comorbid depression are particularly at risk of suicidal behaviours. Moderate to low quality evidence finds a medium-sized effect that people with PTSD were also more likely to report non-suicidal self-harm.

Moderate to low quality evidence finds a medium-sized effect that people with PTSD and sleep disturbances were more likely to report suicidal behaviours than people with PTSD without sleep disturbances.

August 2021

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Last updated at: 5:03 am, 31st July 2021
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