Suicide is the tenth leading cause of deaths in America. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, in every 12.3 minutes an American takes his life and 1.6 million lives are lost annually. A significant majority (90 percent) had psychiatric disorder at the time of their death.
Suicide rates are the highest during spring time which can trigger allergies and mood swings leading to difficulties in coping with the environment and causing depression. Alcohol and drug abuse have also become chief reasons for suicide. Individuals who have experienced a traumatic experience or persistent sadness are more likely to resort to harmful substances to cope up. Some even go to an extent of mixing pain relievers and antidepressants with other drugs or alcohol, which forms a toxic cocktail and gives the desired effects. It is hard to decipher whether drug poisoning occurs because a person intentionally overdosed or genuinely lacked foresight.
Here are a few reasons why a person caught in the dragnet of substance abuse is more likely to kill himself/herself:
1. Uninhibited behavior: When a person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol he/she is more likely to display erratic behavior. Even a person who is otherwise not plagued by any psychiatric problems will shed inhibitions and indulge in risky behavior, such as consuming an additional bottle of beer when already high, driving in a drunk state or engaging in unsafe sex.
2. Increased vulnerability to psychosocial stressors: A person who is dependent on drugs or alcohol is more vulnerable to psychosocial stressors such as divorce, loss of job and marital problems than someone who is not. They could feel threatened and insecure and ultimately give up. In addition, if they try to quit the addictive habit, they experience painful withdrawal symptoms, which could bring back past memories. That could be the final nail in the coffin for someone who is isolated and vulnerable.
3. Comorbid mental health problems: There is a cause and effect relationship between mental illness and substance abuse. Certain drugs that act on the central nervous system function as a catalyst and trigger the symptoms of a mental disorder. For example, adolescent marijuana use is linked to onset of schizophrenia in later life.
Everyone needs a bit of love and care
It is generally observed that unless a person takes stringent measures to set his/her life right, victims of nonfatal overdoses are likely to try killing themselves using the same means the second time. Unfortunately, not all health care facilities have a provision of aftercare services for individuals who have recovered from substance abuse—where they do active follow-ups with patients to detect any symptoms of suicide ideation. When the patients go back home, most feel hopeless. They are susceptible to relapse and start the vicious cycle of addiction again.
While all a person needs is love and care and a reassuring shoulder to fall on, he/she may be subjected to constant speculation. In case of teens, the peers or staff could talk behind their back. The stigma of an attempted suicide and rumormongering could propel them further on the path of substance abuse.
Taking one’s life is never a solution to any problem. Neither is running away from stress and responsibilities by remaining consumed in drugs and alcohol. Instead, one could look out for options such as rehab and therapy.
Treating substance abuse and mental illness
Research has indicated that both the conditions are interlinked and one cannot be treated without taking care of the other. Psychiatrists should dig into the patient’s history to find traces of substance abuse or negate the possibilities of its existence. If one condition is left treated, it can exacerbate the other and continue to cause harm. Treating co-occurring disorders can be difficult keeping in mind that medications can have side effects. But it is possible with support and a good rehab center that is equipped to treat both the conditions simultaneously.
If you or a loved is suffering from a co-occurring disorder, the California Dual Diagnosis Helpline can assist you in locating the best dual diagnosis treatment centers in California offering customized plans to improve treatment outcomes. Do not hesitate to call at our 24/7 helpline 855-980-1736 or chat online with a representative to know more about the finest dual diagnosis rehab in California.