Journal of Neurology

, Volume 265, Issue 6, pp 1303–1309 | Cite as

Neurological diseases and risk of suicide attempt: a case–control study

  • Astrid Eliasen
  • Kim Peder Dalhoff
  • Henrik Horwitz
Original Communication



Neurological diseases have a profound impact on quality of life. We investigated the risk of suicide attempt in ten neurological diseases.


Case–control study. Cases were identified from the Danish Poison Information Centre database in the period 2006–2013. The prevalence of ten neurological diagnoses was compared with the prevalence in a randomly sampled age- and gender-matched control group.


We identified 8974 cases of suicidal attempt and 89,740 controls. We found an association between suicide attempt in nine of ten neurological diseases and disease groups, including stroke [odds ratio (OR) 3.1, 95% confidence interval (CI) (2.8–3.6)], Huntington’s disease [OR 8.8, 95% CI (3.2–24.1)], amyotrophic lateral sclerosis [OR 5.0, 95% CI (1.7–14.6)], Parkinson’s disease [OR 2.9, 95% CI (1.8–4.6)], Alzheimer’s disease and other degenerative diseases [OR 4.8, 95% CI (3.1–7.5)], multiple sclerosis [OR 1.5, 95% CI (1.1–2.1)], epilepsy [OR 4.5, 95% CI (4.1–5.0)], hereditary and idiopathic neuropathy [OR 2.2, 95% CI (1.1–4.3)] and myasthenia gravis [OR 4.3, 95% CI (2.0–9.4)].


Nine out of ten chronic neurological diseases were associated with an increased risk of suicide attempt. These data must be considered for clinicians treating this vulnerable group of patients.


Suicide attempt Self-poisoning Neurological diseases Neuropsychiatry 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors have nothing to disclose.

Ethical standard

This study was approved by the Danish Data Protection Agency (BBH-2013-039 / 02514).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Astrid Eliasen
    • 1
  • Kim Peder Dalhoff
    • 1
  • Henrik Horwitz
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg HospitalUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark
  2. 2.FrederiksbergDenmark

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