This paper has 3 objectives. First, we review the epidemiologic evidence for the association between suicidal behaviour and suicide in individuals diagnosed with antisocial, borderline, or narcissistic personality disorder. Second, we examine whether any potentially modifiable risk factors are associated with these diagnoses, based on existing empirical evidence. Last, we discuss clinical approaches to assessing youth with antisocial, borderline, or narcissistic personality disorder presenting at risk for suicide.
We reviewed the English-language literature for the last 12 years (from January 1, 1991, to December 31, 2002), using as search terms the names of the 3 disorders, as well as the key words suicide, suicidal behaviour, youth, and adolescents.
Patients with antisocial or borderline personality disorder are likely to be at increased risk for suicidal behaviour when they demonstrate such comorbid disorders as major depressive episodes or substance abuse disorders, when they experience recent negative life events, or when they have a history of childhood sexual abuse.
For patients with antisocial personality disorder, the risk of violence has to be judged in addition to the risk of suicide or self-harm. For patients with borderline personality disorder, interventions are determined by differentiating acute-on-chronic from chronic risk of suicidal behaviour. Finally, patients with narcissistic personality disorder can be at high risk for suicide during periods when they are not suffering from clinical depression. These episodes can seem to be unpredictable.