People with sleep disorders and rates of suicide

People who have a history of sleep disorders and bad quality of sleep often tend to have an elevated risk of psychiatric challenges in conjunction with the sleep disorders, which might lead to suicidal ideation or behaviour. So far, the evidence base has been limited to smaller studies, and the current study will be one of few population-based cohort studies examining the association between sleep disorders and suicide. The study is based on Danish register data.

The study is supported by a research trainee grant from the Lundbeck Foundation.

DRISP: Nikolaj Kjær Høier, Trine Madsen, Merete Nordentoft, Annette Erlangsen


  • Adam Spira, PhD, Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of PublicHealth, Baltimore, USA.
  • Prof Keith Hawton, Centre for Suicide Research, University of Oxford

Treatment of bipolar disorder and risk of suicide

Bipolar disorder is linked to an increased risk of suicide and is treated with a range of different drugs. Lithium has been suggested to be superior to other drugs in preventing suicide by a number of RCTs. The study population in these studies has, however, been restricted and findings might not be representative of all persons with bipolar disorder. Therefore, naturalistic studies with larger sample sizes are needed. This study will use Danish National registers to compare treatment effects of lithium to that of other moodstabilisers and antipsychotics.

The study is supported by the Lundbeck Foundation.

DRISP: Cecilie Aalling, Merete Nordentoft, Annette Erlangsen


  • Prof Keith Hawton, Centre for Suicide Research, University of Oxford
  • Michael Eriksen Benros, Psykiatrisk Center København

Cause-specific life years lost among persons with mental disorders

The aim was to quantify the life years lost with respect to cause of death and differences over time between people with and without mental disorders.
This study noted a difference of 10.2 and 7.3 excess life years lost for males and females with mental disorders, respectively. While the overall excess in life years lost between those with and without mental disorders did not change during 1995-2014 However, the excess suicide mortality among persons with mental disorders declined over this period .

The study is published in Lancet Psychiatry.

DRISP: Annette Erlangsen, Merete Nordentoft


  • Per Kragh Andersen, PhD, DMSc, Section of Biostatistics, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Thomas Munk Laursen, PhD, Centre for Integrated Register-based Research (CIRRAU), Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Anita Toender, Centre for Integrated Register-based Research (CIRRAU), Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Vladimir Canudas Romo, PhD, Max-Planck Odense Center on the Biodemography of Aging, Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Biodemography, University of Southern Denmark, Denmark

Heart diseases and suicide

Approximately, 11% of Europeans suffer from cardiovascular diseases. Although somatic disorders are linked to suicidal behavior, updated studies on heart diseases and suicide are needed. This study examines whether individuals diagnosed with cardiovascular diseases have higher suicide rates than individuals without cardiovascular diseases. Danish register data for
the period 1980-2016 was used for the analyses.
Several specific disorders, such as heart failure, cardiomyopathy, and acute myocardial infarction were found to be associated with elevated rates of suicide. Particularly, cardiac arrest with successful resuscitation was linked to a 4-fold higher suicide rate. Additionally, the
first time after diagnosis was associated with higher suicide rates. The results underscore the importance of being attentive towards psychological distress in individuals with heart disease.

Link to study:


  • Benjamin Drejer Petersen, University of Southern Denmark
  • Elsebeth Stenager, University of Southern Denmark

Autism spectrum disorders and suicidal behaviour

Approximately 1% of the population suffer from autism spectrum disorders, which often have their onset during childhood and affect the socialisation of the child. Not much is know about the predictors for suicidal behaviour in this group. The aim of this study is to identify social and disease-related predictors of suicidal behaviour among people with autism.

The project has received support from the Danish Health Foundation.

DRISP: Annette Erlangsen, Cecilie Aaling, Merete Nordentoft


  • Kairi Kõlves, Australian Institute for Suicide Research and Prevention, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia
  • Stephen James Wood, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia