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What is the Link Between Drug Abuse and Suicide?

When people consider the dangers of substance abuse, homelessness, physical and emotional illness, and overdose are often considered. However, suicide is also a serious risk faced with developing an addiction to alcohol or drugs. Drug abuse and suicide have a close relationship. In the United States, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death, and in 2018, there were an estimated 1.4 million suicide attempts.

And while many considerations that drive an individual to attempt taking their own life, such as grief and physical illness, drugs and alcohol are overwhelmingly common as a risk factor for suicide. In fact, opiates are present in the bodies of  20% of the suicide deaths in America.

Additionally, 22% of suicide deaths involve alcohol. Research also indicates that when drinking ages are lowered youth, suicide rates are increased. It is important to acknowledge that substances like drugs and alcohol, though they may be associated with a party lifestyle, can have a serious and negative effect on brain chemistry. Depending on the substance used, drugs or alcohol can worsen depression, trigger anxiety, lead to sleep deprivation, increase paranoia, or lead to other mental health crisis.

Furthermore, the connection between mental health, substance abuse, and suicide is a cycle, which can increase the likelihood of those who struggle with mental health issues falling into addiction and subsequently taking their lives. But help is available. If you or a loved one have considered suicide, or if you are struggling with addiction, the team at Resurgence Behavioral health can help you find a new and happier beginning.

Effects of Drug Abuse and Suicide

The link between drug abuse and suicide is clear. However, this connection is not driven entirely by the abuse of the substance itself, but by how the drugs interact with other co-occurring factors and addictions. For example, research indicates that 8.4% of the total American population has experienced a Substance Use Disorder in the past year.

But the likelihood of addiction is much higher in those facing mental health challenges. Roughly half of those who have a serious mental health issue will suffer from a Substance Use Disorder in their lives. Therefore, many individuals who develop substance use issues are already suffering from depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, or another risk factor that would otherwise predispose them to suicide or self-harm.

For many of these people, substances may seem like an escape from their physical and emotional pain, allowing them to relax, sleep, or feel socially connected. Yet, drugs and alcohol tend to worsen negative mental health outcomes, leading to a feeling of hopelessness.

Substance abuse often results in social isolation, as erratic behaviors emerge, or the individual self-isolates due to fear of judgment. While isolation itself can be a risk factor for suicide, researchers have also discovered a link between isolation and anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, and chemical addiction.

In other words, while the connection between addiction and suicide is clear, it is often accompanied by complex physical and mental health issues. As a result, those who seek treatment for suicidal thoughts will also likely need to be supported through other mental health services and treatment options for substance use and addiction.

Mental Illness, Addiction, and Suicide

As we’ve already seen, the connection between mental illness, substance abuse, and suicide is well-established and hard to escape. In fact, one in four individuals with a serious mental illness has a substance abuse issue, as well.

And both mental illness and substance use can rewire the brain through chemical imbalances, reshaping the reality of the individual – creating the belief that they cannot live without drugs, have failed by becoming addicted, and are utterly alone. Studies have shown that many who suffer from addiction to opiates believe that they do not deserve treatment or that it is better for them to die than to be a burden.

Tragically, without professional intervention, these mental health issues and mistaken beliefs can result in suicide or accidental death through high-risk behavior. For this reason, it is critically important that those who have experienced suicidal thoughts, mental health issues, or addiction receive immediate help before the relationship between substance use and suicide can claim yet another life.

Treatment, Addiction, and Suicide

In order to recover from a Substance Use Disorder, and thoughts of suicide, professional treatment for co-occurring substance use and mental health issues is needed. Addiction is a serious medical issue and, once dependence has begun, it is nearly impossible to quit using drugs or alcohol “cold turkey.”

Like heroin, some drugs can increase the likelihood of suicide during the withdrawal process as the addictive urges, and the body’s chemical imbalances, overwhelm the addicted individual. For those who have developed an addiction to alcohol or drugs, the first step in treatment will likely be medical detoxification.

Detoxification should take place in a supervised setting, like a hospital or a treatment center, where medical staff will be present to help prevent suicide and to manage withdrawal side effects such as seizure, heart attack, and stroke.

Therapeutic drugs may also be prescribed to help manage depressive thoughts and the painful physical and emotional side effects of drug and alcohol withdrawal. Once the drugs or alcohol have left the system, there will be a variety of treatments available to help address underlying issues of PTSD, isolation, depression, and trauma that might be increasing the likelihood of suicide or substance relapse.

Counseling and group therapies will be available to provide peer support, as well as 12-step programs, spiritual services, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and other strategies for building physical and emotional resilience. With professional intervention, recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, and freedom from suicidal ideation, is possible.

Payment Information

At Resurgence Behavior Health, we are here to help you on your road to recovery. Resurgence offers payment plans that work with any budget, and we can help you identify the financial strategy that is right for you. You can even pay for your admission online.

The team at Resurgence will communicate with your insurance provider on your behalf, and we accept most PPO insurance and private forms of payment. Just call the Resurgence Behavioral Health team at 855-458-0050 and let your healing begin.

How to Get Help

Have you considered suicide? Do you feel that nobody understands or that your addiction to alcohol or drugs is unbeatable? There is help available, and the caring and experienced professionals and Resurgence Behavioral Health can help you see a brighter tomorrow. You deserve help, and we are here for you.

From the moment you walk through the door, you will find yourself surrounded by staff who understand what you’re facing and who are ready to support you on your journey. With locations in Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, and Fullerton Hills, as well as a beautiful Outpatient Campus, there is a beautiful and comforting treatment space close to you.

Resurgence Behavioral Health provides Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, counseling to help with depression, group therapy to help you build connections, 12-Step programs, spiritual services, aftercare, and many other programs and therapeutic treatments to help you experience the peace of mind you deserve.

And whether you choose our safe residential spaces or supportive outpatient treatment, you will discover the tools to live a satisfying life, free of addiction. Call Resurgence Behavioral Health. Today is a new day, and at Resurgence, you will not face it alone.

Does your Insurance Cover Rehab?

At Resurgence, we accept most PPO insurance. Verify your insurance now.