Skip to content

    Anxiety & Panic Disorders Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Study Links Anxiety, Nervousness to Suicide

    Higher Suicide Risk for Men Reporting Anxiety Than for Women
    By
    WebMD Health News

    Aug. 10, 2005 -- In a Swedish study, people who reported feeling anxious and nervous were more likely to attempt suicide in the next five to 10 years.

    The study included more than 34,500 men and women living in Sweden. Researchers asked if they were bothered by anxiety, nervousness, or uneasiness -- and if so, how troublesome those emotions were.

    The researchers included Gunilla Ringbäck Weitoft of the Centre for Epidemiology at the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare. The findings appear in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

    Study's Findings

    The vast majority of men and women reported no such emotional problems.

    Yet those who reported severe problems of nervousness, anxiety, and uneasiness had about double to triple the risk of death during the study period. Only 2% of the men and 3.6% of the women reported severe problems with anxiety, uneasiness, or nervousness.

    Men who had reported severe problems with anxiety, nervousness, or unease were nine times more likely to attempt suicide over the next five years than men who didn't report such problems.

    Women reporting severe anxiousness, nervousness, or unease were 3.4 times as likely to attempt suicide as those who didn't report those problems in the survey.

    The researchers made adjustments for long-standing illnesses that those people may also have been facing.

    Rising Anxiety

    Anxiety, nervousness, and unease have become more commonly reported in Sweden over the last 20 years or so, write the researchers.

    What that means isn't totally clear. Are Swedish people more anxious? Or are they just more willing to admit it? Rising reports of anxiety may be an "alarm signal that society should take seriously," write the researchers.

    It's also not certain why nervousness and anxiety were more strongly linked to suicide attempts in men than in women. Are women more open about those feelings, or do such emotions affect men and women differently?

    Besides calling for more studies, the researchers urge health care workers to "pay attention to patient anxiety." They don't mention if Swedish and U.S. suicide patterns are similar.

    Today on WebMD

    young leukemia patient
    Article
    Unhappy couple
    Article
     
    embarrassed woman
    SLIDESHOW
    clown
    Quiz
     
    Phobias frightened eyes
    Slideshow
    podium
    Article
     
    organize
    Article
    stressed boy in classroom
    Article
     
    Distressed teen girl in dramatic lighting
    Article
    man hiding with phone
    Article
     
    chain watch
    Article
    tarantula
    Article