SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND SUICIDE IN YOUNG PEOPLE
- September 25, 2018
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 10 and 24, accounting for about 4,600 deaths per year. There are various reasons why kids and young adults might feel driven to these lengths, including mental health disorders and bullying, but there is also a correlation between substance abuse and suicide. Among the general population, people treated for alcohol abuse or dependence are at about ten times greater risk for suicide, and alcohol is present in about 30 to 40 percent of suicides and suicide attempts. In 2012, 9.4 percent of people who used any illicit drug had suicidal thoughts or behaviors. If your child or someone else close to you has a substance use disorder and has attempted suicide, they are going to need special care to recover both mentally and physically.
First, if the attempt was serious enough that a trip to the hospital was warranted, they might spend a couple days there under suicide watch until a doctor or psychiatrist believes they’re no longer an immediate danger to themselves. Whether that happens or not, it’s vital that you seek professional help. If your loved one was already on psychiatric medication, it might be time to adjust or change their meds. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to find out if they have an underlying mental illness that needs to be treated. Mental health disorders and substance use disorders tend to go hand in hand. You may be given information by the hospital about something called an intensive outpatient program, where the patient will have to attend a certain number of hours of counseling. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to look into outpatient treatment on your own.
As far as things you can do at home, try to remain supportive. You might feel terrified that they’ll try again, or angry that they put you through it the first time, but those emotions aren’t going to help anyone. Consider seeking counseling yourself if you find it hard to get your feelings under control. If you start playing the blame game, you’re just going to create a rift that makes it harder for you to help.
You may also need to remove potentially dangerous things from the home or lock them away. Obviously, any weapons should be kept in a safe, but you should also keep an eye on medications, cleaning products, sharp objects, and so forth. About 23 percent of people who have attempted suicide once will try again unsuccessfully, and approximately seven percent will be successful in a subsequent attempt.
If you or a loved one need help with quitting drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504 to get started.