Suicide is defined as the deliberate or intentional ending of one’s own life. Today, suicide is considered as one of the greatest epidemics in the world. In fact, statistics state that it is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Research goes on to prove that it is the third leading cause of death amongst American adults and teenagers.

Addiction is also not too far off in the statistics. A total of 40% of patients are seeking treatment for their addiction problems. In relation to suicide, acute alcohol intoxication is usually reported in over 30% of suicide victims. Reports by the National Health Association (NHA) state that 90% of individuals who die by suicide have addiction-related issues.

The association of addiction and suicide is not only casual but also conductive. The interconnected relationship between the two come about when an addict experiences depressive thoughts in their hopeless state of addiction. Ultimately, this leads to thinking that taking one’s own life is the best way to curb depression and alleviate any stressful situations that may be taking place.

Over 90% of suicide victims suffer from addiction and depression. The three elements, more often than not, go hand in hand. Apart from this, those who suffer from severe depression often turn to drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately, the end result is usually addiction and suicide for such individuals as they struggle to alleviate negative feelings. In most cases, addiction increases the duration and severity of depression. As such, suicide ideation becomes the best relief.

Addiction, Suicide, and Loss of Hope

Addiction causes an increased rate of suicide in the following ways:

 

  • Creates false thoughts

 

Suicide is the tragic fate for a majority of people who suffer from addiction because when under the influence of drugs and alcohol, compromise and inhibition are lost. Therefore, addicts tend to take the kind of risks that they would not ordinarily take with a sober mind. When high, suddenly an extra dose of drugs does not seem too bad. However, pushing the limits in this manner also causes severe depression and tragic actions.

 

  • Brings short-term relief

 

While using drugs and alcohol may bring short term relief for the addict, the truth is that addiction exacerbates problems slowly and surely. When addicts choose to live a sober life, then they are easily overwhelmed with emotions that may be too much to bear at times. Transitioning into a sober life can be challenging. This is known to push any recovering addict to the edge and make them embrace suicidal thoughts.

 

  • Triggers symptoms of depression

 

As previously discussed, addiction and suicide go hand in hand because off the depressive symptoms that occur. When an addict faces life challenges like financial ruin (that is often brought about by addiction), broken relationships or job loss, then the consequences of addiction start piling up then the emotions are hard to contain. At this point, it is easy to despair and spiral back to addiction, and choose to commit suicide.

Brain Chemistry

Suicidal ideas are thoughts that pop into our heads every now and again. It is not impulsive. Instead, it is a result of thoughts that we entertain for a period of time before taking action. Just as suicide is a result of processes that have a place in our minds, so is addiction.

Drugs and alcohol affect the mind chemistry by disrupting pleasure and creating a reward of sorts for the brain. Ultimately, this makes the brain and the mind at large to prioritize these substances other than the normal things in life that bring joy. Without drugs or alcohol low motivation and apathy take over.

As these substances impair normal thought processes, the mind finds a new norm and starts joining in the temporary relief that is felt after the consumption of these substances. This is why a majority of suicidal individuals act on these thoughts when they are high on drugs or intoxicated.

Preventing Suicide and Recovering From Addiction

It is important for you to be honest and non-judgmental when you come across someone suffering from addiction versus suicidal thoughts. Apart from showing your love and support, treatment from professional mental health experts can go a long way.

Making use of suicide prevention hotlines is also the best way to talk someone off a ledge as they wait for the actual treatment to begin. For other people with substance abuse disorders, suicidal thoughts may come and go. For these individuals who are battling with addiction and suicide, healthy conversations and encouragement are much-needed.

Image by Dan Meyers on unsplash

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