Deployment-Linked Factors Don't Increase Suicide Risk

Deployment-Linked Factors Don't Increase Suicide Risk
Deployment-Linked Factors Don't Increase Suicide Risk

(HealthDay News) – For U.S. military personnel, deployment-related factors are not associated with suicide risk; and prolonged exposure therapy doesn't exacerbate alcohol use in individuals with alcohol dependence and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to two studies published in the Aug. 7 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Cynthia A. LeardMann, MPH, from the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego, and colleagues conducted a prospective longitudinal study to examine and quantify risk factors associated with suicide in current and former U.S. military personnel. The researchers identified 83 suicides in 707,493 person-years of follow-up, from July 2001–2008. After adjustment for age and sex, male sex, depression, manic-depressive disorder, heavy or binge drinking, and alcohol-related problems correlated significantly with an increased risk of suicide. No deployment-related factors were linked with an increased risk of suicide.

Edna B. Foa, PhD, from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues randomized 165 participants with PTSD and alcohol dependence to one of four conditions: prolonged exposure therapy or supportive counseling plus naltrexone or pill placebo. The researchers identified large reductions in the percentage of days drinking in all treatment groups. Those who received naltrexone vs. pill placebo had significantly lower percentages of days drinking. In all four groups there were reductions in PTSD symptoms, but the main effect of prolonged exposure therapy was not significant.

"In this study of patients with alcohol dependence and PTSD, naltrexone treatment resulted in a decrease in the percentage of days drinking," Foa and colleagues write. "Prolonged exposure therapy was not associated with an exacerbation of alcohol use disorder."

Two authors from the Foa study disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry and one author reported providing expert testimony in a malpractice case.

Abstract - LeardMann
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Abstract - Foa
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