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5 Reasons Addiction Leads to Suicide

Sadly, individuals struggling with substance use disorder (SUD) are 6 times more likely to commit suicide.1 Substance misuse is the second-highest risk factor for suicide.1

Depression is the number one risk factor, and the rate of major depression among those with substance use disorders is 2 to 4 times higher than the general population.1

About a third of the people who die from suicide are under the influence of drugs.1 If you or a loved one are facing these hurdles, please know that there is hope. You’re not alone. You can overcome.

Helplessness and Hopelessness Collide

Why is this tragedy so prevalent among those suffering from addiction? What drives these individuals to end their lives?

Most often, they become overwhelmed with one of the following emotions and feel like they’ll never overcome it.2 They become convinced that suicide is the only way out. If your loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, watch for these signs that often lead to suicide.

  • Hopelessness: In the midst of substance misuse and all its consequences, it’s may be easy to think there’s no hope of recovery. Broken relationships, health issues, job loss, and financial issues pile up to form a huge hurdle that blocks out hope. Faced with these problems, on top of the constant battle with addiction itself, it is hard to believe their situation is not beyond hope.
  • Unhappiness: What starts as feelings of distress and sadness builds until they are under the full weight of depression. Often, people use drugs and alcohol to numb painful emotions or block memories of past events. This often leads to an unhealthy spiral of avoidance, increased sadness, and deeper depression. Before they know it, they are in a state of despair they feel they can’t escape.
  • Regret: Addiction can lead to poor choices, and these unhealthy decisions often evolve into feelings of regret. The emotions of guilt and shame are hard to shake. If relapse occurs, this adds further feelings of failure and regret. With the weight of these feelings, those struggling with substance abuse may find it too difficult to face themselves in the mirror. They don’t feel they deserve to live, so they decide to end their lives.
  • Defeat: Self-criticism often leads to feelings of defeat. “I can’t do anything right.” “I’m a screw-up.” “My life is all wrong.” Repeated attempts at sobriety can add to these feelings. Convinced they will never see victory, suicidal thoughts may creep in.
  • Loneliness: Addiction is isolating. Consumed with cravings, withdrawal, and a focus on the next fix, it’s hard to connect with others. They may feel that no one can understand their pain. They might feel shame about their substance misuse – shame that keeps them from opening up to others. Wrapped in a world of hurt, they feel all alone. This ache of loneliness can become so intense that suicide feels like the only escape.

There Is Hope

If you are experiencing feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, you are not alone. Help is available. Many people with substance use disorder also experience mental health issues. This is known as a co-occurring disorder, or dual diagnosis, and it can be treated. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHA), more than 1 in 4 adults living with serious mental health problems also has a substance use disorder.3

Behavioral therapy, such as individual, group, or family counseling, is an essential component of dual diagnosis treatment. It is important to learn why you misuse substances–since certain substances can lead to mental health issues and certain mental health issues can lead people to substance misuse.3 Treating both conditions at the same time is the best way to successfully recover from SUD.

In a co-occurring disorder treatment program, different types of therapy and support may be incorporated:

Treatment Options for Addiction and Feelings of Suicide

Whenever possible, you should consult with a doctor or other treatment professional to help you decide on any treatment decisions to ensure they will be the best choices for you.

Treatment should be tailored to meet your needs, and may include multiple settings, including:4

  • Detoxification: The clearing of substances from your body so that you can stabilize and continue with addiction treatment services, such as therapy.
  • Inpatient: Care where you stay at a facility throughout treatment and have access to 24/7 support and monitoring.
  • Outpatient: Care that involves living at home while you attend group and individual counseling sessions. Outpatient care can include intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) as well as partial hospitalization programs (PHPs).

Receiving treatment for a substance use disorder can help you regain control of your life. Instantly check the coverage offered by your health insurance provider or locate a nearby rehab center.

To learn more about your treatment options and/or healthcare plan coverage, contact an American Addiction Centers admissions navigator today at . Help is also available through the suicide lifeline at 988.

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