Here are some facts about suicide and addiction (substance use disorders) that we all need to be aware of.
1. Suicide is a leading cause of death among people who abuse alcohol and drugs (Wilcox, Conner, & Caine, 2004).
2. Compared to the general population, individuals treated for alcohol abuse or dependence are at about 10 times greater risk to eventually die by suicide compared with the general population, and people who inject drugs are at about 14 times greater risk for eventual suicide (Wilcox et al., 2004).
3. Individuals with substance use disorders are also at elevated risk for suicidal ideation and suicide attempts (Kessler, Borges, & Walters, 1999).
4. People with substance use disorders who are in treatment are at especially high risk of suicidal behavior for many reasons, including:
– They enter treatment at a point when their substance abuse is out of control, increasing a variety of risk factors for suicide.
– They enter treatment when a number of co occurring life crises may be occurring (e.g., marital, legal, job)
– They enter treatment at peaks in depressive symptoms.
– Mental health problems (e.g., depression, post traumatic stress disorder [PTSD], anxiety dis orders, some personality disorders) associated with suicidality often co-occur among people who have been treated for substance use disorders.
– Crises that are known to increase suicide risk sometimes occur during treatment (e.g., relapse and treatment transitions).
SUICIDE IS A PERMANENT SOLUTION
TO A TEMPORARY PROBLEM
Straight Talk About Suicide