Suicide, the act of intentionally taking one’s own life, is often the result of a person’s addiction to drugs and alcohol. Here at the Pacific View Recovery Center, we take this matter very seriously and strive to educate both our clients and the public about how substance abuse can predispose a person to attempting suicide.
Some Facts about Substance Abuse and suicide:
– Suicide is the10th leading cause of death worldwide and 8th in the United States;
– It is the 3rd leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15-24;
– People who drink heavily in their youth are more predisposed to committing suicide;
– 50% of teenagers who attempt suicide have a history of substance abuse;
– 25 percent of those who do kill themselves are drug and alcohol abusers.
Common misconceptions about suicide:
– People who talk about suicide won’t really do it. Almost everyone who commits or attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. Do not ignore suicide threats. Statements like “you’ll be sorry when I’m dead,” “I can’t see any way out,” etc., no matter how casually or jokingly uttered, may indicate serious suicidal feelings.
– Anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be crazy. Most suicidal people are not psychotic or insane. They may be upset, grief-stricken, depressed or despairing, but extreme distress and emotional pain are not necessarily signs of mental illness.
– If a person is determined to kill him/herself, nothing is going to stop them.
Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about death, wavering until the very last moment between wanting to live and wanting to die. Most suicidal people do not want death; they want the pain to stop. The impulse to end it all, however overpowering, does not last forever.
– People who commit suicide are people who were unwilling to seek help.
Studies of suicide victims have shown that more than half had sought medical help in the six months prior to their deaths.
– Talking about suicide may give someone the idea. You don’t give a suicidal person morbid ideas by talking about suicide. The opposite is true — bringing up the subject of suicide and discussing it openly is one of the most helpful things you can do.
What to do if you suspect someone is suicidal:
– Listen to the person. Many suicidal people feel isolated and alone. Offer a friendly ear and encourage them to share their feelings with you.
– Take their feelings seriously and take nothing they say for granted. Be sympathetic.
– Don’t shy away from the subject. If a friend or family member is exhibiting signs of possible suicide, do not be afraid to say that you are concerned about them and that you want to know if they are considering hurting themselves. You can ask, “Are you having thoughts of suicide?”
– Offer hope. Let the person know that help is available.
– If you think that a suicide attempt is imminent, absolutely do not leave the person alone. If needed, call 911.
Levels of suicide risk:
Low — Some suicidal thoughts. No suicide plan. Says he or she won’t commit suicide.
Moderate — Suicidal thoughts. Vague plan that isn’t very lethal. Says he or she won’t commit suicide.
High — Suicidal thoughts. Specific plan that is highly lethal. Says he or she won’t commit suicide.
Severe — Suicidal thoughts. Specific plan that is highly lethal. Says he or she will commit suicide.
Help Is At Hand for Substance Abuse AND Suicidal Thoughts
If you or a loved one is suffering from substance abuse issues, which may be accompanied by suicidal thoughts, please call our PVRC admissions specialists today at 866-737-4962. We will help you decide if our program offers the most effective course of treatment. If not, we’ll be happy to guide you in a more appropriate direction.