Last Edited: 09/02/2021

Author: Pamela Zuber Pamela Zuber

National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month: Drugs, Alcohol, and Suicide

Drugs and alcohol can kill in various ways.

Such deaths can occur because of short-term use, as in overdoses, or by accidents and crimes caused by people under the influence. Long-term use of alcohol or drugs can also be fatal.

Addiction and Suicide Statistics

Alcohol and drug use can also contribute to suicide. According to researchers, studies have reported that:

  • At least 25% of people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol kill themselves.
  • More than 50% of suicides have connections to drug or alcohol dependence.
  • More than 70% of suicides in adolescents may relate to the use of drugs and alcohol or a dependence on those substances.

Given the effects that drugs and alcohol can produce, such statistics are sad but not surprising. Alcohol and many drugs depress the brain and central nervous system.

How Depression, Addiction, and Suicide Are Related

When people who have depression also use alcohol or drugs, the substances might make them even more depressed. If people become addicted, they might become even more depressed because they hate what their lives have become (and maybe even hate themselves).

These feelings could prompt them to use even more alcohol or drugs to try to forget their pain. But more alcohol and drugs can mean more depression and more physical exposure to toxic substances.

People could feel trapped in this cycle, thinking that there’s no way to escape. As painful as the prospect of suicide might be, people might consider it a release from the pain that they’re already experiencing.

If they’re severely depressed and are considering suicide, people might not reach out for help. That’s why it’s important to know how to determine if someone’s depressed or may be suicidal.

One of the goals of National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is to teach people about suicide and how to prevent it. It also aims to end stigmas surrounding suicide so people feel free to talk about it.

Similarly, talking about alcohol and drug addiction can help remove stigmas. Open discussions and assistance can help people treat addiction and prevent suicide. Depression, addiction, and suicide aren’t inevitable, they’re treatable.

Sources

pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – Suicide Risk Associated with Drug and Alcohol Dependence

sunshinebehavioralhealth.com – Depression & Addiction: How One Can Easily Affect the Other

nami.org – Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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