The role of anxiety in the development of suicidal thoughts in pregnant women with mood disorders
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BACKGROUND: Both mood and anxiety disorders are more prevalent in women than men with the onset typically occurring during adolescence or early childbearing years. These disorders are particularly prevalent during pregnancy and the postpartum period. While depression during the perinatal period has received significant attention recently, anxiety has not received the same amount of attention. METHODS: The current study was a secondary analysis of a prospective cohort study that followed 91 women with mood disorders through pregnancy and the postpartum period. Our objective was to determine if a correlation existed between anxiety and suicidality. We hypothesized that pregnant women with a history of a mood disorder and comorbid anxiety are more likely to be suicidal than those without comorbid anxiety. The presence of anxiety was determined using the anxiety subscale of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, EPDS; a cut off score of six or greater was used to indicate significant anxiety. Suicidality was determined using three separate measures: question ten on the EPDS, question eighteen on the Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology, and question ten on the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale. ANALYSIS: Chi square tests were used to compare the demographics of the anxious and non-anxious women based on both diagnosis of anxiety disorders and symptoms of anxiety. Z proportion tests were then used to compare the proportion women with anxiety versus those without anxiety who were suicidal. Lastly, binary logistic regression was used to determine if patients with anxiety were more likely to be suicidal. RESULTS: Among the women in this study, 62 (68.1%) had a diagnosis of major depressive disorder and 29 (31.9%) had a diagnosis of bipolar disorder based on DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria. In addition, 45 (49.5%) had a lifetime history of an anxiety disorder. The prevalence of significant anxiety symptoms, as determined by the anxiety subscale on the EPDS, ranged from 9.1-37.5% depending on the time point. Suicidality prevalence also varied depending on both the time point and the scale used: 0-17.5% using the MADRS, 6.7-24.7% using the EPDS, and 2.4-14.7% using the IDS. Using a binary logistic regression, we determined that anxiety was a risk factor for suicidality at time T3 (OR 2.106; 95% CI 1.274-3.481) and M1 (OR 2.057; 95% CI 1.179-3.586) on the MADRS and at T3 (OR1.758; 95% CI 1.219-2.535) on the EPDS.