An estimated 34,000 Americans die each year due to suicide, making it the 11th leading cause of death in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that suicides accounted for 66 percent of violent deaths in 2013. About 18 percent of those were people known to have problems with alcohol, and 16 percent had problems with other substances. Poisoning is the third-leading method used in suicide deaths, and drugs make up 75 percent of suicide deaths due to poisoning.
Substance abuse is one of the top risk factors for suicide, particularly when combined with a mental disorder. For example, people with bipolar disorder are often triggered to drink or use drugs by the symptoms of their illness, and their mental health symptoms usually worsen when they abuse drugs or alcohol. Depression and other mood problems are common side effects of both drug use and withdrawal. Drugs and alcohol can also alter brain chemistry by disrupting the pleasure and reward centers in the brain. This makes people less likely or unable to enjoy things they once did, which can, in turn, lead to depression and suicidal thoughts.
Along with the symptoms of substance abuse, many of the other effects of addiction can lead to suicidal ideation. These include the ending of a relationship, the loss of employment, lack of support, and chronic illnesses.
Some of the warning signs of suicide are: expressing a desire for death, hopelessness, reckless behavior, avoiding friends and family, extreme irritability or anxiousness, and a decrease in performance at work or school. A suicidal person may also feel that they lack a purpose in life, feel that they are a burden to others, or talk about committing violence or seeking revenge.
If you feel that you or a loved one are at risk for committing suicide, here are some steps to follow. Medical detox may be necessary if there has been recent drug use. Psychiatric screening should take place before entering into a treatment program, to determine what medications may be needed and what sort of program will work best. A specialized treatment plan should then be drawn up, including medical monitoring, counseling, and therapy that addresses both substance abuse and any existing mental disorder.
When the program is completed, aftercare and access to support groups should be provided. People are also at an increased risk for suicidal thoughts during early recovery because many people decide to seek help after a stressful event.
At Asana Recovery, we have a detox program to assist you in getting the drugs out of your system as comfortably and safely as possible. We also offer both residential and outpatient programs that provide education, counseling, and therapy. Our consulting physicians specialize in addiction and behavioral health, and our counselors and therapists are certified and licensed. Asana Recovery is accredited by the Commission of Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, which means you’ll receive the best care possible. Call us at (949) 438-4504 to find out how we can help.