Unfortunately, suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. In fact, as a whole, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the country.
Suicide is incredibly prevalent among individuals between the ages of 10-34. It’s the 3rd leading cause of death amongst those between the ages of 10-14. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for those who are between the ages of 15-34.
When you factor in both addiction and mental health conditions, those numbers go up substantially. More than 90% of all people who commit suicide suffer from addiction, a mental health condition such as depression, or both. This makes the connection between addiction and suicide significant and one that should be paid attention to.
The connection between suicide and addiction can be heartbreaking for those who left behind. If you’re a suicide surivor, you may experience intense feelings of grief and frustration.
There are some subtle signs to keep an eye out for if you are concerned that a loved one might try to harm themselves. Luckily, there are options you can get treatment for both addiction and mental health issues. These treatment programs can decrease the chances of suicide occurring.
Why Do People Commit Suicide?
Every case of addiction and suicide is unique. The only person who can truly identify and understand why they may have suicidal tendencies is the person experiencing them. That being said, there are some risk factors that can lead a person to consider suicide as the only option.
- Suicidal thoughts
- Substance abuse
- History of suicide in the family
- History of violence or sexual abuse
- Previous incarceration
- Presence of dangerous weapons inside the home
- History of violent behavior
Of all of these possible reasons or factors listed above, the two that are the biggest reasons why someone might commit suicide are substance abuse and depression. In fact, people suffering from a substance abuse issue are 6 times more likely to try and commit suicide at least once in their life.
Oftentimes, those two are related as well. In many instances, those who are suffering from depression turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate and try to forget that they are depressed. Additionally, many times when someone suffers from a substance abuse issue one of the side-effects that goes along with it is depression.
What Are Some Warning Signs That Someone Might Try to Harm Themselves?
Many suicides can be prevented but unfortunately, not enough people know the potential warning signs that someone they know might be in a bad place mentally and is considering hurting themselves or committing suicide. Suicide prevention is a higlight for mental health awareness.
That’s why knowing the warning signs is so important, especially if you fear a loved one might be struggling or having a hard time mentally. It’s also important to remember that everyone acts differently and some people might be really good at hiding their emotions or issues, making them harder to spot.
That being said, here are some of the most common warning signs that someone you know might be trying to hurt themselves or commit suicide:
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Change in eating habits
- Increase in drug or alcohol use
- Feeling trapped
- Talking about feeling hopeless or empty
- Extreme irritability
- Severe mood swings
- Isolating themself
- Openly talking about injuring or killing themself
- Reckless behavior
- Actively avoiding any type of social situation
- No longer showing interest in hobbies or activities
- Starts giving things away
- Begins calling people to say goodbye with no explanation or reasoning
What Should I Do If I Suspect A Loved One Is Suicidal?
If you have a friend or loved one who checks off any of these boxes and you might fear that they will try and do harm to themselves, reach out to them immediately and let them know that you are there for them. Sometimes all someone who is contemplating suicide needs is to be reminded that there are people out there that love them and care about them.
On the opposite side of that, if you are someone who has contemplated suicide it’s important to remember that there are people out there that care about you. Try reaching out to a family member or loved one or, if you feel too embarrassed to do that, try talking to a therapist or professional who can help you better understand and manage your feelings.
What Substances Of Abuse Are Most Commonly Associated With Suicide?
Out of all the substances that people can become addicted to, there are two in particular that have the highest suicide rate associated with them. They are alcohol and opioids.
By far the highest rate of suicide amongst those with substance abuse issues is related to opioids. However, due to the nature of overdosing it is tough to know how many opioid-related overdoses were accidental and how many were intentional.
That being said, opioid use increases the likelihood of suicidal thoughts by roughly 50% and suicidal actions by roughly 75%. In addition, men who suffer from an opioid addiction are twice as likely to try and commit suicide while women who suffer are as much as 8 times more likely to commit suicide.
Some of the more common opioids that people tend to abuse and become addicted to include:
Alcohol is recognized as another substance of abuse that comes with a high suicide rate. This is due in large part to the fact that alcohol changes and impacts the overall brain chemistry similar to opioids. Suicide and addiction rates can be influenced by the resources available for treatment.
Similar to opioids, people who suffer from mental conditions such as anxiety and depression turn to alcohol as a form of self-medication. Alcohol can become the short-term solution to feel better and forget about their problems.
While this might seem effective in the short-term and might even work, long-term it can actually cause those depression and anxiety feelings to worsen due to the fact that alcohol is a depressant. When these feelings get worse or intensify it makes a person feel more and more helpless and like there is no way out which, in turn, can increase the chances that they might try and commit suicide.
What Can I Do To Prevent A Friend of Loved One From Committing Suicide?
As we mentioned above, if you fear someone you know might try and harm themself the first thing you should do is reach out and let them know you are there for them. Oftentimes people think that they are all alone and nobody cares about them so it won’t matter if they try and kill themselves. Preventing addiction and suicide requires a keen eye and empathy.
Letting them know that is not the case can go a long way in saving someone from themselves. Another thing you can do to try and help is encourage them to seek treatment. If they are someone who is suffering from an addiction in addition to their mental health issues then a treatment center that specializes in co-occurring disorders is the best place for them.
What Treatment Options are Available for Addiction and Suicide?
Before they can begin treatment though, they will need to undergo detox in order to rid the body and mind of any and all harmful substances they might have been taking. Due to the way the body and mind typically react to detoxing, this should be done under the care and supervision of trained medical professionals at:
- A local medical facility
- A dedicated detox center,
- A treatment center that also offers a detox program.
Detox programs are offered at Northern Illinois Recovery Center. Self-detoxing can lead to serious medical problems including death, if not properly managed. Depending on the severity of your case, detox can last up to 7-10 days.
Once detox has been completed, then treatment can begin. Depending on what is best for the person and their needs, their treatment professional will recommend that they enter into either an inpatient, outpatient, or partial hospitalization treatment program.
In order to best treat both their addiction and their mental health issues, treatment will center around various therapies including:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Dialectical-behavioral therapy
- Individual and group counseling
- Family therapy
- Medication-assisted treatment
In addition to these more traditional therapies, at Northern Illinois Recovery Center we also offer non-traditional therapies such as yoga and holistic therapy.
Want To Know More About Addiction and Suicide?
While addiction has led many people to take their own lives, that doesn’t always have to be the answer. It’s important to remember there are people out there that care for you and want to see you succeed in life. At Northern Illinois Recovery Center, we deliver exceptional care for anyone who comes through our doors.
That’s why it is our goal to provide them with the treatment that they need so that they can live a happy, healthy, and most importantly sober life. If you or someone you know is battling addiction, a mental health condition, is experiencing suicidal thoughts, or all of the above, contact us today.