The relationship between anxiety and suicide risk has long been debated, but now four papers in a special issue of Depression and Anxiety aim to settle the controversy by demonstrating that anxiety posed a greater suicide risk than depression.
In the first study, Dr. Phillip Batterham examined 7,485 adults and found that suicidal thoughts were more strongly predicted by incident symptoms of anxiety than depression. Holly Wilcox follows this by examining the role of PTSD in 1,433 adults with severe depression and a high lifetime rate of attempted suicide. PTSD increased suicide risk by 2.5 fold and this increase was largely driven by individuals whose PTSD was due to assaultive violence.
Zimri Yaseen examined 2,864 individuals with depression in a national U.S. sample and found that panic attacks associated with a specific catastrophic fear of dying predicted subsequent suicide attempts.
Amrit Kanwar co-authors the final study; the first meta-analysis of the role of anxiety disorders in suicide. Dr. Kanham reviewed 42 studies covering a total of 309,974 adults and conclusively showed that patients with an anxiety disorder were more likely to have suicidal thoughts.