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Comparative associations of problematic alcohol and cannabis use with suicidal behavior in U.S. military veterans: A population-based study.

J Psychiatr Res. 2021 Jan 08;135:135-142

Authors: Hill ML, Nichter B, Loflin M, Norman SB, Pietrzak RH

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) and cannabis use disorder (CUD) are each associated with increased suicidal behavior, but it is unclear how their comorbidity relates to suicide risk. Understanding these associations in U.S. military veterans is especially important, given their heightened risk for suicide, high prevalence of AUD, and increasing access to cannabis. We compared associations of probable AUD, CUD, and AUD/CUD with suicide ideation, plan(s), and attempt(s) in a nationally representative sample of 4,069 veterans surveyed in 2019-2020 as part of the National Health and Resilience in Veterans Study. Among veterans who screened positive for current AUD, 8.7% also screened positive for current CUD. Among veterans who screened positive for current CUD, 33.3% screened positive for current AUD. Current and lifetime positive screens for AUD, CUD, and AUD/CUD were each strongly and independently associated with past-year suicide ideation and lifetime suicide ideation, plan(s), and attempt(s) [odds ratios (ORs) = 1.6-8.7]. Relative to veterans who screened positive for AUD only, veterans who screened positive for AUD/CUD and CUD only had higher odds of past-year suicide ideation (AUD/CUD: OR = 3.3; CUD only: OR = 2.4), lifetime suicide ideation (AUD/CUD: OR = 1.9; CUD only: OR = 2.6) and lifetime suicide plan(s) (AUD/CUD: OR = 1.7; CUD only: OR = 6.1). Collectively, findings suggest that screening positive for CUD might be an especially strong indicator of suicide ideation and planning in veterans with and without AUD, independent of sociodemographic, military, trauma, and other psychiatric factors. These findings underscore the importance of routine screening for CUD in suicide prevention efforts, especially as cannabis becomes more widely available.

PMID: 33477057 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Source: ncbi 2

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