When we think or talk about addiction and the despair it causes, we sometimes overlook the possibility of an addict or alcoholic committing suicide. Chances are, anyone who has struggled with substance abuse, has told themselves at least once “I am better off dead”.
With overdose numbers on the rise, it is easy to forget the addicts that take their lives every day. It seems as though suicide is a forgotten truth for those that suffer from the disease.
Nevertheless, the reality speaks in the numbers.
Research confirms, addicts and alcoholics are 6 times more likely to commit suicide compared to anyone else and the strongest predictor for suicide is not a psychiatric diagnosis, but rather alcoholism. Furthermore, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.
So we ask ourselves, what drives someone to do such a thing? There may be a few explanations.
Firstly, addicts are a seemingly hopeless group of individuals. Whether we would like to believe it or not, they carry around a great deal of shame and remorse for the things they have done. Substance abuse destroys their relationships, creates legal consequences, and sometimes leaves them homeless and penniless.
When all other options have run out, they feel the only thing left to do, is give up entirely.
Another reason behind the likelihood of suicide are underlying mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. Major depression is 2 to 4 times higher in addicts compared to the general population.
Sometimes, an individual will abuse substances to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, but once the chemical is removed, those feelings can come back at a higher rate. Without proper clinical interventions in place, a person can become overwhelmed with emotion.
What Can We Do To Prevent Suicide
In order to recognize the possibility of suicidal ideations, we must be properly trained to do so.
While the suicide rate among addicts is 45%, only a reported 11% sought substance abuse treatment. Several factors play a role in this finding, such as, a lack of resources, the stigma still attached to addiction and a lack of training in suicide prevention.
Primary health care professionals can help to a certain extent if they know what to look for and how to go about it. If they can determine that their patient struggles with alcoholism and/or addiction, they can then evaluate them for suicidal ideations and attempts.
Treatment providers must also do their part to address such issues once the individual has entered treatment. Proper evaluation and assessment is the beginning to knowing whether or not their patient may be suicidal.
Once that has been completed, the clinician can introduce the patient to a multitude of therapies and tools to help ease the discomfort of early sobriety. Some therapies that have proven to be beneficial are CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy).
Clearbrook Offers Another Way Out
Here at Clearbrook, we can offer you another solution.
With our decades of experience, we can properly evaluate and treat anyone who may be struggling with suicidal ideations.
Along with our 12-step based philosophy of treatment, we also integrate CBT and DBT into our treatment plans, to help our patients begin the healing process.
If you are struggling with a drug or alcohol problem and have contemplated suicide, please know there is another way; there is hope. Give Clearbrook a chance to show you.
Contact our Admissions Specialists today and begin on the road to recovery.