PhD Scientific Days 2023

Budapest, 22-23 June 2023

Mental Health Sciences IV.

Investigating the risk factors for suicidal behavior in patients with borderline personality disorder

David Balogh, Semmelweis University, Doctoral School of Mental Health Sciences
Zsolt Unoka, Semmelweis University Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy

Text of the abstract

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a complex mental illness characterized by instability in relationships, self-image, emotions, impulsivity, and self-harm behaviors. Suicidal behavior is common in BPD, but the risk factors for suicide in these patients are not well understood. However, the specific risk factors for suicide in these patients are not fully understood, making it challenging to develop effective prevention strategies.

In 2022 we conducted a systematic search and meta-analysis to identify the risk factors for suicidal behavior in individuals with BPD. The search yielded 1567 papers in Pubmed, 2963 in Embase, and 261 in Central. After the screening, only 8 papers were found to be relevant to the study. The investigated risk factors included age, sex, depression, and impulsivity, with calculated odds ratios (ORs). The overall odds ratio in age was 1.04 (95% CI: 0.98-1.10), in sex 1.49 (95% CI: 0.33-6.79), in depression 3.67 (95% CI: 0.49-27.70), and in impulsivity 1.20 (95% CI: 1.06-1.37). This finding is particularly noteworthy, as impulsivity is a core feature of BPD and is strongly linked to emotional dysregulation and self-harm. Sex was also found to be a clinically significant risk factor, with females exhibiting a higher likelihood of suicidal behavior than males. However, age was not a highly significant risk factor in the present study. While prior research has suggested that younger individuals with BPD may be at a higher risk of suicidal behavior, the small sample size of the present study limits the generalizability of the results.

Overall, the findings of this study highlight the importance of addressing depression and impulsivity in the prevention of suicidal behavior in individuals with BPD. Interventions aimed at reducing impulsivity and treating depression may be effective in reducing suicide risk in this population. However, more research is needed to further explore the relationship between age and suicide risk in individuals with BPD.

In conclusion, this study provides important insights into the risk factors for suicidal behavior in individuals with BPD. Further research is necessary to develop targeted prevention strategies that can effectively address the complex nature of suicidal behavior in this vulnerable population.