Depression, Drug Abuse Predict Postpartum Suicidal Ideation

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- Current major depressive episode and drug abuse appear to be significant predictors of suicidal ideation in postpartum women, according to a study of 400 women with a history of neuropsychiatric illness who were followed before and after delivery.

Women with a current major depressive episode had an almost 11-fold increased risk of suicidal ideation in the postpartum period, based on multivariate analysis (odds ratio 10.8). Women with a history of opioid abuse or dependence had an almost 30-fold increased risk (odds ratio 29.6), and those with a history of polydrug dependence had an over 64-fold increased risk (odds ratio 64.4), reported Dr. Tamara E. Weiss of the women's mental health program at Emory University, Atlanta.

A history of eating disorders or miscarriage also was a significant predictor of postpartum depression on multivariate analysis, with odds ratios of 6.5 and 7.5, respectively.

For the study, Dr. Weiss and her colleagues included women from a cohort participating in a prospective observational study of perinatal psychiatric illness. All women were enrolled either during pregnancy or prior to conception. They completed the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) at their first postnatal visit--within 6 months of delivery or pregnancy termination.

The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM IV (SCID) and the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire were administered at study entry. …