Just because someone suffers from addiction doesn’t mean they have suicidal thoughts. But substance abuse is known to increase the chances of people being suicidal or otherwise. This risk also goes up if they already have a mental illness like depression, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, or any other mood issues.
Understanding The Relationship Between Substance Abuse And Suicide
Suicide is what causes the most deaths when it comes to those who have a substance abuse disorder. Those who are getting treatment for an alcohol dependence actually have a ten times higher risk of suicide than those who are not.
There are a few ways substance abuse can trigger suicidal thoughts. These include:
– Altering your mood to create feelings of hopelessness
– Impairing your judgment and problem-solving skills
– Creating many problems with friends and family
– Causing lots of trouble with the performance at work or school
– Creating significant financial stress
– Interfering with the effectiveness of prescription antidepressants you are taking
It is more likely for teens or young adults who abuse substances to attempt suicide. Of course, suicide attempts that end up successful are more common in adults. It is also important to note that gender does affect the risk of suicide. Men are more likely to choose firearms or lethal weapons in suicide attempts, so they are 80% more successful. Women usually have nonfatal attempts.
Knowing the warning signs of someone considering suicide is important. These warning signs include:
– They have had recent trauma like the death of a loved one, unemployment, or divorce
– They’ve begun withdrawing from relationships with loved ones
– They are having dramatic mood swings, such as being on top of the world one day and sullen and angry the next
– They’ve made constant self-loathing comments such as “I hate myself” or “You’d all be better without me”
– Seem obsessed with death and dying
– They have an unhealthy interest in guns, knives, and other weapons
– Threatening to self-harm
– Giving their prized possessions away suddenly
– Saying goodbye to loved ones in a way that feels permanent
Any of these signs can mean someone is thinking about suicide. Try and be even more aware especially if they have tried to commit suicide in the past. This means they may be more likely to try again.
If you think that someone you care about might be having suicidal thoughts then don’t be quiet. The worst thing you can do is keep it to yourself for fear of upsetting them. Talking about them potentially being suicidal won’t make it worse. They need to know people care and are paying attention.
Sometimes you might feel that you haven’t noticed these signs soon enough and they need immediate attention. If that is the case call 911 immediately and try to get them the help they need. Put their safety first and get them help.