The Link Between Suicide and Substance Abuse

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For people who have become addicted to drugs and or alcohol the likelihood of there being thoughts of suicide, and attempts at suicide is high. The reason that addicts and alcoholics depend on substances to cope with life is that they are not just unhappy, but their ability to view the world realistically is flawed. This is like persons who have mental health concerns. They, like addicts and alcoholics, require medications well as treatment or therapy to cope. Although not all addicts and alcoholics are suicidal the statistics suggest a need for concern.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information and the U.S. National Library for Medicine, “People who abuse alcohol and/or drugs or are dependent on them, attempt suicide nearly six times more often than people who do not abuse these substances… Although there is a correlation between the disorder caused by using substances and suicidal behavior, many addicts will never attempt suicide. It is therefore important to identify those individuals with the disorder caused by the use of substances that may be at higher risk for suicide” (NCBI).

Substance abuse and mental health concerns greatly increase the risk of suicide. Both, often cause individuals to feel hopeless and powerless. The treatment programs that are available for people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol and have mental health concerns are called dual diagnosis treatment programs. These programs integrate substance abuse treatment methods along with mental health therapy methods that help promote self-awareness.

The dual diagnosis treatment programs utilize science-based methods for substance abuse treatment and mental health treatment. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a common form of treatment for a person who has been diagnosed with addiction and or alcoholism and a mental health diagnosis- such as depression or anxiety. The therapy that dual diagnosis programs offer typically focuses on topics related to trauma, death, sexual abuse, abandonment, physical abuse, violence, and rape.

What Can Be Done About Suicide and Addiction?

The common thread among people who are abusing drugs and alcohol and those who have a mental health concern is that they need treatment and can benefit from therapy in a professional setting. Psychiatric care that includes addiction recovery treatment is the best option for a person who needs professional guidance on how to stop their addictions and how to manage their mental health diagnosis.

Suicide has been found to be more likely in families where a relative has committed suicide. For people that are addicted to drugs and alcohol if there is a relative who has committed suicide or has revealed that they are having suicidal thoughts or ideas, the level of concern greatly increases for that person’s wellbeing. The most important thing someone can do to help someone they think is suicidal, who is also on drugs and or drinking, is to approach them with a trained suicide prevention advocate.

There are New York drug rehabs and treatment centers across the country that assist individuals struggling with addiction. Often substance abuse leads to suicidal thoughts because of the desperate and desolate situation an addict is in when it comes to chemical dependency. Also, for loved ones of addicted individuals, finding an addiction interventionist could be very helpful in getting your loved one the help he or she desperately needs.


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