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Rate of suicide increased among people with autism

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The rates of suicide attempts and suicide are increased among people with autism, according to a study published in JAMA Network Open.

Kairi Kõlves, Ph.D., from Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia, and colleagues conducted a cohort study using nationwide register data from Jan. 1, 1995, to Dec. 31, 2016, for 6,559,266 individuals in Denmark aged ten years or older.

The researchers found that 35,020 individuals received a diagnosis of autism. Overall, there were 64,109 suicide attempts (0.9 percent among individuals with autism) and 14,197 suicides (0.4 percent among individuals with autism). The suicide attempt and suicide rates were more than threefold more severe for persons with autism compared with those without autism (adjusted incidence rate ratios [aIRRs], 3.19 and 3.75, respectively).

Those with autism had higher rates of suicide attempts across all age groups. Compared with those without any psychiatric disorder, individuals diagnosed with autism with other comorbid disorders had an aIRR of 9.27 for suicide attempts. Overall, 92.3 and 90.6 percent of the individuals with autism who attempted suicide and who died by suicide, respectively, had at least one other comorbid condition.

“Psychiatric comorbidity was found to be a major risk factor, with more than 90 percent of those with autism who attempted or died by suicide having another comorbid condition,” the authors write.

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