This blog will discuss suicide. If you are having troubling thoughts of suicide, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
There are many ways addiction can kill you. We typically think of overdose, accidents, and diseases like liver cirrhosis, HIV, and heart disease. Suicide gets less attention but is a major cause of deaths linked to addiction.
Out of every 10 people who attempt suicide, nine will have some mental health challenge. The most common are depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance use disorders. Furthermore, substance use disorders are likely to overlap significantly with the other disorders named.
Substance use appears to make suicide attempts more likely than any mental health issue alone. People with substance use disorders are by some estimates about six times more likely to attempt suicide than people without substance use disorders. There are likely several reasons for this. Most substances lower inhibitions, making people more likely to act on suicidal impulses. So while someone suffering with depression may only think of suicide, someone who is depressed and drinking may just try it. Substances also tend to exacerbate the symptoms of mental health issues. Symptoms of depression or schizophrenia that are only miserable by themselves may become unbearable when substance use makes them worse.
Finally, addiction tends to multiply problems. You become more prone to accidents, more vulnerable to diseases, more likely to alienate friends and family, and more likely to end up in legal trouble. When you are already struggling with a mental health issue, adding these external stressors can easily make one feel overwhelmed and sometimes suicide looks like the only way out.
The irony is that mental health issues typically precede addiction. Many people become addicted as a way of trying to self-medicate. Instead of relieving the pain, addiction only makes it worse and increases the risk of suicide.
There are several indications that someone may be at increased risk of suicide. Depressed mood is an obvious one. Also older people with substance abuse issues are more likely to attempt suicide than younger people. Previous attempts indicate that future attempts are more likely. Impulsive behavior, especially violence toward one’s partner can indicate difficulty with impulse control, which has been linked to suicide attempts. An increase in severity of substance use also correlates with a higher risk of attempting suicide.
When seeking treatment, it’s important to find a programme that will treat both the addiction and the mental health issue. Treating only the addiction is not enough and will likely lead to relapse. Getting comprehensive treatment for addiction is the best way to reduce the risk of suicide as well as the other dangers of substance abuse.
Located in downtown Midland, The Springboard Center’s mission is to offer programs and services to treat alcohol and drug addiction treatment using an evidence based curriculum, 12 step programs, diet, nutrition, exercise, emotional, mental and spiritual development for a long recovery. For more information, please call us at 432-620-0255 as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.