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Since 1999, the rate of fatal prescription opioid overdoses and of suicides has dramatically increased in the USA. These increases, which have occurred among similar demographic groups, have led to the hypothesis that the opioid epidemic contributed to increases in suicidal behavior, though the underlying association remains poorly defined. We examine the association between nonmedical use of prescription opioids/opioid use disorder and suicidal ideation/attempts.
We used longitudinal data from a national representative sample of the US adult population, the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Participants (n = 34 653) were interviewed in 2001–2002 (wave 1) and re-interviewed approximately 3 years later (wave 2). A propensity score analysis estimated the association between exposure to prescription opioids at wave 1 and prevalent/incident suicidal behavior at wave 2.
Heavy/frequent (⩾2–3 times a month) prescription opioid use was associated with prevalent suicide attempts [adjusted risk ratio (ARR) = 2.75, 95% CI 1.35–5.60]. Prescription opioid use disorder was associated with prevalent (ARR = 1.98, 95% CI 1.20–3.28) and incident suicidal ideation (ARR = 2.59, 95% CI 1.25–5.37), and prevalent attempts (ARR = 4.19, 95% CI 1.71–10.27). None of the exposures was associated with incident suicide attempts.
Heavy/frequent opioid use and related disorder were associated with prevalent suicide attempts; opioid use disorder was also associated with the incident and prevalent suicidal ideation. Given population increases in nonmedical use of prescription opioids and disorder, the opioid crisis may have contributed to population increases in suicidal ideation.
Cognitive impairment is strongly linked with persistent disability in people with mood disorders, but the factors that explain cognitive impairment in this population are unclear.
To estimate the total effect of (a) bipolar disorder and (b) major depression on cognitive function, and the magnitude of the effect that is explained by potentially modifiable intermediate factors.
Cross-sectional study using baseline data from the UK Biobank cohort. Participants were categorised as having bipolar disorder (n = 2709), major depression (n = 50 975) or no mood disorder (n = 102 931 and n = 105 284). The outcomes were computerised tests of reasoning, reaction time and memory. The potential mediators were cardiometabolic disease and psychotropic medication. Analyses were informed by graphical methods and controlled for confounding using regression, propensity score-based methods and G-computation.
Group differences of small magnitude were found on a visuospatial memory test. Z-score differences for the bipolar disorder group were in the range −0.23 to −0.17 (95% CI −0.39 to −0.03) across different estimation methods, and for the major depression group they were approximately −0.07 (95% CI −0.10 to −0.03). One-quarter of the effect was mediated via psychotropic medication in the bipolar disorder group (−0.05; 95% CI −0.09 to −0.01). No evidence was found for mediation via cardiometabolic disease.
In a large community-based sample in middle to early old age, bipolar disorder and depression were associated with lower visuospatial memory performance, in part potentially due to psychotropic medication use. Mood disorders and their treatments will have increasing importance for population cognitive health as the proportion of older adults continues to grow.
Declaration of interest
I.J.D. is a UK Biobank participant. J.P.P. is a member of the UK Biobank Steering Committee.
Although early life adversity (ELA) increases risk for psychopathology, mechanisms linking ELA with the onset of psychopathology remain poorly understood. Conceptual models have argued that ELA accelerates development. It is unknown whether all forms of ELA are associated with accelerated development or whether early maturation is a potential mechanism linking ELA with psychopathology. We examine whether two distinct dimensions of ELA – threat and deprivation – have differential associations with pubertal timing in girls, and evaluate whether accelerated pubertal timing is a mechanism linking ELA with the onset of adolescent psychopathology.
Data were drawn from a large, nationally representative sample of 4937 adolescent girls. Multiple forms of ELA characterized by threat and deprivation were assessed along with age at menarche (AAM) and the onset of DSM-IV fear, distress, externalizing, and eating disorders.
Greater exposure to threat was associated with earlier AAM (B = −0.1, p = 0.001). Each 1-year increase in AAM was associated with reduced odds of fear, distress, and externalizing disorders post-menarche (ORs = 0.74–0.85). Earlier AAM significantly mediated the association between exposure to threat and post-menarche onset of distress (proportion mediated = 6.2%), fear (proportion mediated = 16.3%), and externalizing disorders (proportion mediated = 2.9%).
Accelerated pubertal development in girls may be one transdiagnostic pathway through which threat-related experiences confer risk for the adolescent onset of mental disorders. Early pubertal maturation is a marker that could be used in both medical and mental health settings to identify trauma-exposed youth that are at risk for developing a mental disorder during adolescence in order to better target early interventions.
Most research on the prevalence, distribution, and psychiatric comorbidity of intellectual disability (ID) relies on clinical samples, limiting the generalizability and utility of ID assessment in a legal context. This study assessed ID prevalence in a population-representative sample of US adolescents and examined associations of ID with socio-demographic factors and mental disorders.
Data were drawn from the National Comorbidity Survey Adolescent Supplement (N = 6256). ID was defined as: (1) IQ ⩽ 76, measured using the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test; (2) an adaptive behavior score ⩽76, and (3) age of onset ⩽18 measured using a validated scale. The Composite International Diagnostic Interview assessed 15 lifetime mental disorders. The Sheehan disability scale assessed disorder severity. We used logistic regression models to estimate differences in lifetime disorders for adolescents with and without ID.
ID prevalence was 3.2%. Among adolescents with ID, 65.1% met lifetime criteria for a mental disorder. ID status was associated with specific phobia, agoraphobia, and bipolar disorder, but not behavior disorders after adjustment for socio-demographics. Adolescents with ID and mental disorders were significantly more likely to exhibit severe impairment than those without ID.
These findings highlight how sample selection and overlap between ID and psychopathology symptoms might bias understanding of the mental health consequences of ID. For example, associations between ID and behavior disorders widely reported in clinical samples were not observed in a population-representative sample after adjustment for socio-demographic confounders. Valid assessment and understanding of these constructs may prove influential in the legal system by influencing treatment referrals and capital punishment decisions.
General Scientific Summary
Current definitions of intellectual disability (ID) are based on three criteria: formal designation of low intelligence through artificial problem-solving tasks, impairment in one's ability to function in his/her social environment, and early age of onset. In a national population sample of adolescents, the majority of those with ID met criteria for a lifetime mental disorder. Phobias and bipolar disorder, but not behavior disorders, were elevated in adolescents with ID. Findings highlight the need to consider how behavioral problems are conceptualized and classified in people with ID.
Previous research suggests that various types of childhood maltreatment frequently co-occur and confer risk for multiple psychiatric diagnoses. This non-specific pattern of risk may mean that childhood maltreatment increases vulnerability to numerous specific psychiatric disorders through diverse, specific mechanisms or that childhood maltreatment engenders a generalised liability to dimensions of psychopathology. Although these competing explanations have different implications for intervention, they have never been evaluated empirically.
We used a latent variable approach to estimate the associations of childhood maltreatment with underlying dimensions of internalising and externalising psychopathology and with specific disorders after accounting for the latent dimensions. We also examined gender differences in these associations.
Data were drawn from a nationally representative survey of 34 653 US adults. Lifetime DSM-IV psychiatric disorders were assessed using the AUDADIS-IV. Physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect were assessed using validated measures. Analyses controlled for other childhood adversities and sociodemographics.
The effects were fully mediated through the latent liability dimensions, with an impact on underlying liability levels to internalising and externalising psychopathology rather than specific psychiatric disorders. Important gender differences emerged with physical abuse associated only with externalising liability in men, and only with internalising liability in women. Neglect was not significantly associated with latent liability levels.
The association between childhood maltreatment and common psychiatric disorders operates through latent liabilities to experience internalising and externalising psychopathology, indicating that the prevention of maltreatment may have a wide range of benefits in reducing the prevalence of many common mental disorders. Different forms of abuse have gender-specific consequences for the expression of internalising and externalising psychopathology, suggesting gender-specific aetiological pathways between maltreatment and psychopathology.
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