Depression and drug use, suicide and addiction. These issues are closely related. They are dark consequences of one another and challenges efforts to rediscover health and joy in life. However, a challenge is not a permanent block. Suicide is a real risk, but recovery is also a real possibility.
Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shares, “more than 40,000 people in the United States die from suicide annually, or one person every 13 minutes. More people die by suicide than from automobile accidents.” SAMHSA explains that nearly 25 times more people than this attempt suicide each year. This makes for a staggering number of unhappy or desperate individuals.
Help and hope are available, but people have to speak up and reach out to take advantage of available resources. This can be incredibly difficult to do when struggling with depressive or suicidal thoughts. Suicide is a real risk for any person facing mental health concerns or life challenges. Professional treatment and personal support can prevent suicide. They can restore joy and quality of life. Addiction rehab, therapy and mental health treatment reduce the risk of suicide.
Suicide and addiction are related because substance use and mental health are related. Addiction is considered a mental health issue. It also frequently overlaps with other mental health concerns. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) shares, “Persons diagnosed with mood or anxiety disorders are about twice as likely to suffer also from a drug use disorder (abuse or dependence)... similarly, persons diagnosed with drug disorders are roughly twice as likely to suffer also from mood and anxiety disorders.”
Suicide risk is tied to addiction and mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and more. Since each increases the risk of suicide on its own, when issues occur simultaneously, suicide risk multiplies. SAMHSA shares, “The most critical risk factors for suicide are prior suicide attempts, mood disorders (such as depression), alcohol and drug use, and access to lethal means.” Recent research indicates alcohol was a factor in approximately one-third of suicides reported. Additional research indicates that in recent years there has been a 51 percent increase in drug related suicide attempt visits to hospital emergency departments. Drug addiction makes suicide a real risk. It also provides means and methods for suicide attempts or accidents. Treatment restricts access to drugs. It gives individuals the support and tools they need to change thought patterns and behavior. Programs are widely available to address any and all co-occurring mental and physical health concerns. These programs ensure patients leave happy, healthy and ready to pursue and enjoy a drug-free life.
If you, or someone you know, is in need of immediate help call 911. Don’t wait! Other available resources include the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-622-HELP (4357). These organizations are there to assist you in finding help and get you on the road to recovery. Remember, there is always hope.
Mark Jacobson is a Peer Support Specialist based in Winona, Minn.