Purpose of Review
Risk for suicidal behavior may fluctuate across the menstrual cycle. Here, we use the RDoC framework to review potential mechanisms by which the cycle may increase acute suicide risk.
The menstrual cycle impacts the majority of RDoC constructs linked to suicide risk, particularly among hormone-sensitive women, such as those with premenstrual dysphoric disorder or premenstrual exacerbation of a psychiatric disorder. Despite this, there are no published studies examining suicidal ideation, planning, or behavior longitudinally across the cycle.
More work is needed to understand how hormone sensitivity may relate to both trait and state suicide risk. Intensive multilevel investigations of cyclical hormone effects on suicide risk through specific RDoC mechanisms are suggested. This is a fertile research area and may provide key insights regarding the mechanisms of acute suicide risk.
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Although we use the term “women” throughout for readability, we wish to clarify that we use this word to indicate those assigned female at birth who are currently experiencing natural menstrual cycles. This may include transgender men and nonbinary-identified individuals.
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This work was supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health (R00MH109667), the Gia Allemand Foundation, and the International Association for Premenstrual Disorders.
Conflict of Interest
Sarah A. Owens declares no potential conflicts of interest.
Tory Eisenlohr-Moul reports grant support from the Gia Allemand Foundation, the International Association for Premenstrual Disorders, and a grant from the National Institutes of Health (R00109667).
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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
This article is part of the Topical Collection on Reproductive Psychiatry and Women’s Health
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Owens, S.A., Eisenlohr-Moul, T. Suicide Risk and the Menstrual Cycle: a Review of Candidate RDoC Mechanisms. Curr Psychiatry Rep 20, 106 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-018-0962-3
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