Published: 28-05-2014 14:58 | Updated: 28-05-2014 14:58

Increased risk of suicide in diabetes

New research from Karolinska Institutet shows that diabetes increases the statistic risk of suicide, especially in people who are diagnosed at young age. The study is published in the journal Diabetes Care.

The findings are built on anonymous information in Swedish patient registries from 252,191 people diagnosed with diabetes type 1 or type 2 during the years 1996–2009. Each cohort member was matched for age, sex, and county of birth to five unaffected individuals randomly sampled from the total population (a so-called matched-cohort study). Results show, among other things, that the risk of suicide was more than three times higher in the diabetes group than in the control group, and the risk of other unnatural death increased as well.

A relatively common method was fatal poisoning, for example by an overdose of insulin or oral hypoglycemic drugs (9%). The risk of suicide was especially high among people who were diagnosed with diabetes before the age of 40 (type 1). Researchers point out that this increased risk only to a minor share was depending of psychiatric disorders.

The current work is the result of collaborations with University of Manchester, UK. Principal investigator was Dr. Bo Runeson, a professor of psychiatry at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet. Financial support for this study was provided by Söderström-Königska Foundation.


Unnatural deaths in a national cohort of people diagnosed with diabetes.
Webb R, Lichtenstein P, Dahlin M, Kapur N, Ludvigsson J, Runeson B
Diabetes Care 2014 Aug;37(8):2276-83