Post-traumatic stress disorder among Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans is associated with a high risk of suicidal thoughts, according to new research published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress.
PTSD is the most common mental disorder among veterans returning from service in the Middle East.
Investigators discovered veterans who screened positive for PTSD were four times more likely to report suicide-related thoughts relative to veterans without the disorder.
The link holds true even after accounting for other psychiatric disorder diagnoses, such as substance abuse and depression.
Veterans who screened positive for PTSD and two or more comorbid mental disorders were significantly more likely to experience thoughts of suicide relative to veterans with PTSD alone.
As many as 46 percent of veterans in the study experienced suicidal thoughts or behaviors in the month prior to seeking care, and of those veterans, three percent reported an actual attempt within four months prior to seeking the care.
Suicide-related thoughts and behaviors discovered in a returning veteran who has been diagnosed with PTSD, especially in the presence of other mental disorders, may suggest an increased risk for suicide.