Suicidal Behavior in Eating Disorders

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Kaloglu H. A., HOCAOĞLU Ç.

Psikiyatride Güncel Yaklaşımlar, vol.15, no.4, pp.687-696, 2023 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Review
  • Volume: 15 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.18863/pgy.1224756
  • Journal Name: Psikiyatride Güncel Yaklaşımlar
  • Journal Indexes: Academic Search Premier, Central & Eastern European Academic Source (CEEAS), Psycinfo, Directory of Open Access Journals, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.687-696
  • Recep Tayyip Erdoğan University Affiliated: Yes


Many studies have shown that people with eating disorders have higher rates of suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and completed suicide than the general population. One of the diseases with the highest suicide rate among psychiatric disorders is anorexia nervosa. Some hypotheses have been proposed to explain possible causes of increased suicidal behavior in eating disorders. Some conditions common to eating disorders and suicidal behavior, such as dissatisfaction with the body and interoceptive deficits, have been cited. It has been conclusively shown that psychiatric comorbidity, especially the co-diagnosis of depression, increases the risk of suicide in patients with eating disorders. However, increased suicidal behavior in eating disorders cannot be explained by comorbidity alone. The interpersonal psychological theory of suicide (IPTS), developed by Joiner, aims to understand why people commit suicide and to explain the differences in individual suicidal behavior. Some researchers have thought that the increased suicidal behavior of people with eating disorders, especially anorexia nervosa patients, is expected from the perspective of IPTS. The compensatory behaviors of patients with eating disorders, such as vomiting or chronic restrictive food intake, are painful and challenging actions for the body. It can be considered that repeated encounters with painful and challenging experiences form a habit in the individual and reduce pain avoidance. When viewed from the IPTS perspective, decreased pain avoidance may explain the increased suicide attempts and completed suicides of individuals. Clinicians working with eating disorder patients must conduct regular and comprehensive assessments of suicide. Comorbidities such as major depression, anxiety disorder, and substance-use disorder should not be overlooked in patients with eating disorders and should be taken seriously.