The Relationship Between Alcoholism And Suicide

For many, suicide is a difficult topic to broach. Culturally, it is considered taboo and often the language we use is both polarizing and stigmatized. It is important to make the space to discuss thoughts and feelings as they relate to suicide so those suffering from its weight might seek the help they need more easily. This is especially important in cases where an individual might be suffering from an addiction to alcohol as well as suicidal thoughts.

If you are contemplating suicide, please stop reading and call 1-800-273-8255. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is open 24/7 and allows anyone to speak openly and anonymously.

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How Are Alcohol And Suicide Connected?

In today’s world, unfortunately, many people have a relationship with suicide. Whether a close personal relationship or that of a friend, suicide claims the lives of thousands each year. In 2019 alone, 47,500 Americans lost their lives to suicide. While there is rarely one reason behind a person’s death by suicide, it has been found that nearly 1/3 of suicide deaths have been linked to alcohol consumption.

Many people use alcohol as self-medication. Whether they suffer from anxiety or other mental illness, some kind of mood or personality disorder, or are trying to cope with a trauma, many people turn to alcohol in an attempt to forget their problems. The chronic use of this substance, however, can mean that someone builds a tolerance, dependence, and eventually an addiction.

What once might have been considered an aid, is now another (if not greater) strain on their life, harming relationships, jobs and responsibilities, and even the body. Alcoholism has the power to devastate a person who previously had no history of health issues; consequently, when someone who does have underlying health conditions experiments with alcohol as a crutch or coping mechanism, in time, they might become more likely to take their own life.

Although alcohol may provide temporary relief from suicidal ideation (thoughts of suicide), in reality, it makes the issue exponentially worse. In most cases, mid-to-long-term alcohol abuse makes suicidal ideation both more frequent and more powerful, subsequently increasing the likelihood of suicide attempts. Additionally, alcohol abuse generally makes other contributing factors to suicide worse. For example, alcohol exacerbates the symptoms of many mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and depression, all of which can contribute to suicide.

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Alcohol And Suicide Statistics

120
times

People who suffer from alcoholism are up to 120 times more likely to take their own life than those who are not dependent on alcohol.

40
seconds

On average, someone dies of suicide every 40 seconds.

29
percent

29% of suicide victims in America were found with alcohol in their system.

The Implications Of Alcohol And Suicide

The pain felt by family members and loved ones of someone who has taken their own life is often harder to deal with than if they died by another means. Often, those who lost someone feel some level of guilt or responsibility. It is important to note that suicide is not something that gives blame or points fingers, it is powerful and greedy and takes ruthlessly. However, it is equally imperative to seek help immediately if you notice changes in mood or signs of suicidal thoughts in yourself or a loved one. Those feelings may be indescribably heavy and suffocating, but finding a professional to work through that darkness might be the beginning of a brand new life.

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Getting Help For A Loved One

If someone you love has a problem with alcohol, or you have noticed them acting out of the ordinary, it’s important not to jump to conclusions. Throwing around unfounded accusations could make them feel attacked and escalate the situation. Instead, contact a treatment provider today. They can help you determine a course of action and make sure you have all the tools necessary to get the help you or your loved one need.

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