Last Updated on October 23, 2015 by Morris Green
Suicide is among the top ten causes of death in the United States, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It alone accounts for over 34,000 deaths each year, and an even greater number of people attempt suicide – roughly 5 percent of adults. The link between substance abuse, violence, and suicide is growing ever more apparent.
Some of the most studied and best-known risk factors associated with mental health problems have been linked to suicide. And a growing number of those affected by mental illness can trace the cause of their illness back to a substance they were abusing.
Substance Abuse and Suicide Risk
Drug and alcohol use disorders have been linked to an increased suicide risk. People who abuse addictive substances or have developed a dependency are almost six times more likely to report a suicide attempt.
Numerous studies have been conducted involving people undergoing drug and alcohol treatment. These studies have unearthed a common thread; past and present suicidal thoughts are far more common among people in recovery.
According to PsychiatricTimes.com, a recent study involving veterans indicates that men with a substance use disorder are roughly 2.3 times more likely to die by suicide versus those who lack such a disorder. Women with a substance use disorder showed a suicide risk of 6.5-fold.
Substance Abuse and Violent Behavior
Aggressive behavior is fairly common in addiction and dependency cases. Some people grow aggressive and violent when using drugs or consuming alcohol. Others see these tendencies surface after the effects of a substance begin to wear off. In either scenario, violent behavior increases the risk of suicide in substance abusers.
Psychiatric Times reports that upwards to 75 percent of those starting addiction treatment report violent behavior. New research is strongly indicating that violence could account for the link between suicide risk and substance abuse.
In a study involving over 600 adults who started addiction treatment, those who had committed a serious violent act were two times more likely to report multiple suicide attempts. Also, people with an alcohol disorder and prior aggressive behavior were more likely to have suicidal thoughts or attempt to commit self-harm and suicide. The study went as far as controlling past victimization, depression, and demographic characteristics, but the results held.
The Cocktail of Substance Abuse
There is no doubt substance abuse comes with major risks, one of which seems to be a cocktail of substance abuse, violence, and suicide. These three ingredients are dangerous on their own, but they seem to inevitably mingle and combine to present a major challenge for those struggling with addiction and its aftermath.
Multi-faceted treatment is imperative to aiding an addict in recovery. Their unique circumstances need to be taken into consideration, and their treatment plan must be based on their strengths and weaknesses. Cookie-cutter treatment does not exist in the world of substance treatment and recovery. However, with proper time and attention, treatment and recovery can be successful and cause a positive life-altering change.
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