We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
Article |

The Lifetime Risk of Suicide in Alcoholism

George E. Murphy, MD; Richard D. Wetzel, PhD
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1990;47(4):383-392. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1990.01810160083012.
Text Size: A A A
Published online


• Current estimates of the lifetime risk of suicide in alcoholism (11% to 15%) are shown statistically to be untenable. Examination of the mortality from suicide in all published follow-up studies of alcoholics containing the requisite data permits calculation of a much smaller lifetime suicide risk: about 2% in untreated and 2.21% in outpatient-treated probands. Studies of alcoholics identified from hospital admissions yield a lifetime risk of about 3.4% for the United States, the United Kingdom, and other English-speaking countries. It is higher in the Scandinavian and European countries with high suicide rates, but not in those with low national suicide rates. The population at risk is shown to be about half of that commonly estimated, and consists of seriously affected alcoholics. While the annual incidence of suicide in the United States is about 1.3% currently, only that quarter of the population identifiably psychiatrically ill is at significant risk. Despite the seemingly miniscule lifetime risk of 2% to 3.4%, the likelihood of suicide in conservatively diagnosed alcoholism is between 60 and 120 times that of the non-psychiatrically ill. Such alcoholism contributes about 25% of the suicides.


Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?





Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

0 Citations

Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.