Connection Between Addiction and Suicidal Behavior
In this country, someone dies due to suicide every 16 minutes, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Each life lost leaves behind a whole community, all wondering what happened and what they could have done differently. For those who haven’t been touched personally by the problem of suicide, it can be tempting to look the other way, but those who’ve lost a loved one in this way can struggle with guilt and depression as they try to understand what happened. Sometimes, one person’s suicide is so catastrophic to another that the second person also chooses death. It’s a terrible and tragic consequence that’s all too common.
People who commit suicide may feel as though there is no hope for the future, and these sad and tortured thoughts may come about due to substance use and abuse. Spotting the signs and providing appropriate help could mean the difference between life and death for someone who is contemplating suicide.
People who are addicted may lean on their substance of choice in order to commit suicide. Adept addicts may know just how much of a substance they need in order to overwhelm their bodies, and they may have enough substances on hand to do the job quite efficiently.
Drugs may also predispose people to suicide, due to the chemical changes inside the brain these drugs can bring about. As an addiction progresses, the brain produces fewer chemicals that are associated with pleasure, and portions of the brain governing impulse control can grow dark. As a result, people might feel low and sad, and they might be unable to control the urge to end their pain. For those who are in the midst of addiction, it’s important to understand that alcohol and drug dependence predisposes them to death by accident, disease or suicide. Chemical changes are to blame.
Mental Health Concerns
In addition to the substance abuse, suicide is brought on by emotional factors. In fact, the National Institute of Mental Health suggests that more than 90 percent of people who die due to a suicide attempt have a substance abuse issue and/or another mental disorder, such as:
- Bipolar disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
These mental illnesses may worsen during the addiction process, as the chemical damage caused by the addiction can make the brain function even less efficiently.
Handling a suicidal impulse on your own isn’t easy, and it also isn’t recommended. In fact, people who talk about suicide are experiencing a medical emergency that merits care in a hospital. But once the crisis has passed, people who have threatened to end their lives need intensive help, so they can examine the impulse and really get better. Often, this involves treatment both for substance abuse and mental illness. When someone is treated for both these problems simultaneously, it is called a co-occurring disorder or Dual Diagnosis. This is the kind of care we offer at The Canyon.
If someone in your family is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol as well as depression or suicidal thoughts, call The Canyon at our toll-free number. If you’re the one who needs help, we’re here to help you. Someone is available to take your call 24 hours a day and answer any questions you have about your treatment, financing and insurance options