Profiles of Patients with Opioid Use Disorders Presenting a History of Suicidal Ideations and Attempts

Psychiatr Q. 2022 Jun;93(2):637-650. doi: 10.1007/s11126-022-09978-3. Epub 2022 Mar 2.


Suicide rates are higher for people with an opioid use disorder, compared to the general population. This study aims to characterize opioid agonist treatment entrants who present a history of suicidal ideations or suicide attempts, according to concurrent comorbidity profiles, in an opioid use disorder treatment facility. A chart review design was used. Data was collected from 202 patient files. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were conducted. In multivariate analysis, patients with a diagnosis or symptoms of a mood disorder were 2.48 [1.01 - 6.11] times more likely to report suicidal ideations and 2.64 [1.05 - 6.62] times more likely to report suicide attempts. Those with a diagnosis or symptoms of an anxiety disorder were 2.41 [1.01 - 5.81] times more likely to report suicidal ideations. Patients who report chronic pain were 2.59 [1.06 - 6.35] times more likely to report suicidal ideations as well. The probability to report suicide attempts was 5.09 [1.16 - 22.4] times higher for those with a confirmed or suspected personality disorder. Clinicians should bear in mind the high suicide rates in people with opioid use disorder, as well as the importance of addressing suicidal risk and providing easy access to mental health and chronic pain treatment as part of the service offer in opioid agonist treatment. Future research should focus on evaluating the effectiveness of treatments aimed at addressing the needs of opioid agonist treatment patients with interrelated mental health and pain comorbidity profiles to reduce risks associated with suicide.

Keywords: Comorbidities; Opioid agonist treatment; Opioid use disorder; Suicidal ideations; Suicide attempts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / therapeutic use
  • Chronic Pain* / drug therapy
  • Chronic Pain* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Opioid-Related Disorders* / drug therapy
  • Opioid-Related Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Suicidal Ideation
  • Suicide, Attempted / psychology


  • Analgesics, Opioid