More threads by David Baxter PhD

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Suicide predictors identified for women with eating disorders
Women with eating disorders are at considerable risk of attempting suicide, report researchers who stress the need for clinicians to be aware of such risk throughout the course of treatment.

To investigate potential predictors of suicide attempt among women with eating disorders, Debra Franko (Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA) and colleagues interviewed 136 women with anorexia nervosa and 110 with bulimia nervosa and assessed for suicidal intent every 6 to 12 months over a 9-year period.

During the study, 15% of participants reported at least one prospective suicide attempt. Furthermore, contrary to the researchers' expectations, women with anorexia were significantly more likely than bulimic women to attempt suicide, with rates of 22.1% and 10.9%, respectively.

Further analysis indicated that eating disorder symptoms only appeared to predict suicide attempt in bulimic patients, with the use of laxatives significantly predicting such attempts.

For women with anorexia, however, severity of both depressive symptoms and drug use over the course of the study were the unique predictors of suicide attempt.

A history of drug use was also found to be a predictive factor for suicide attempt in women with bulimia.

Interestingly, Franko and team found that, at enrollment, suicide attempters and non-attempters differed on the subscales of the Eating Disorder Inventory that measure personality characteristics and interpersonal relations, including ineffectiveness, interoceptive awareness, and interpersonal distrust for bulimic participants.

"These data suggest that clinicians need to consider both personality variables and temperament when assessing an eating disorder patient's risk for suicidal behavior," say the researchers."

They conclude in the journal Psychological Medicine: "Clinicians should monitor suicidal risk on a regular basis, particularly for those with significant comorbidity and long-term illness, even if a substantial amount of psychosocial treatment has been provided."

Psychol Med 2004; 34: 843-853


I fully understand why

I can see why those whom suffer from this disorder would decide to end life as we know it. I have thought of it many times. But really, I am already killing myself with this anyway... matter of time I suppose.

I know for myself and many like me, we hate ourselves to the fullest extent. I can appreciate why someone would opt for suicide. I find it very difficult to find understanding from the professional end of trying to recover. This is why I have decided against continuing with medical help of any sort. So much guilt and blame is set and this will set someone even further back. The compassion is truly lacking with any of my dealings with this. I have had people who care, not denying this. My family doctor cares too much. Its like a crusade that he "fixes" this problem. I can't do that to someone, I just let them down over and over again. I will not see him anymore, as much as it is breaking my heart.

I have and always will believe that suicide is a choice for those who make it. Don't get me wrong though. I would do anything in my power to help anyone with these feelings. People don't think clearly while in this state. But if someone has a strong will to want to end life, well there is only so much others can do. Not that it makes it any easier. Think about the pain they are in to commit such an act. In the end, they decide.


David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
haunting said:
I know for myself and many like me, we hate ourselves to the fullest extent. I can appreciate why someone would opt for suicide. I find it very difficult to find understanding from the professional end of trying to recover.
What part of the Canada are you from, haunting? There are some truly excellent therapists and excellent programs out there... though it's true sometimes it's hard to sort out the good ones from the well-meaning bad ones...


So where are they? (smile)

Hello Mr. Baxter. I am from Red Deer, AB. I have tried many therapists. The last one I had kept falling asleep at our appointments. Not kidding at all.

I find that the lack of understanding makes it so hard to get where one hopes to be someday. So then the hope turns into despair.

I had a pdoc not to long ago. He told me to stop the bull@#%$. I completely lost my temper, which I normally don't do. I am a calm person, one who gets along with pretty much anyone. I am even friendly to my ex husband who beat me for years before our divorce. My pdoc was very critical, judgemental, chauvinist, and had a major lack of understanding for one with this problem I had also just had an abortion and he told me to get over it. It had just happened a month before, this is when my ED took over once again.

So how is it we find the "good ones". I trust in what you say, I know there are many out there. I find it hard to keep starting over, feels like I kept getting burried and sufficating. (please excuse the spelling).

Thanks for the reply.


David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
I need to go out for a while shortly but I'll see what I can find out when I return. Can you send me an email to remind me to do this, Haunting? (just click on the "email" button at the bottom of this post, rather than the "pm" button).


Dr. Baxter, I am not sure if I am using the email properly. Did you get my message? Not to bright with the computer. Have been learning.



Hi Haunting,

I know it's tough to want to try another doc or therapist just to be let down again.
There ARE people out there. I'm sure people in the forum can try and help with
names of some close to you.

Meanwhile, your body sounds like it needs help to try and stop this deterioration
and start turning it going back the other way. I was never bulemic but I was definately
anorexic a bit when sickest. Went down to 83 lbs... its hard on the body... starvation.
I had some health issues and severe depression and couldn't eat.

Its not easy to turn this going the other way towards health, but its probable,
with the right help and support (from you too :) ) Please try not to judge yourself,
just deal with it in a practical way.

By the way ... I have similar thoughts/views about suicide too sometimes.
Sometime it just seems like the right thing to do... but maybe later, if the person
survived, they would have had different thoughts and feelings about life and things.

take care.
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