Drug Abuse and The Risk of Suicide Ideation

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Last Updated on June 5, 2021 by

According to Psychiatric Times, suicide ideation is the 11th leading cause of death in the United States about 34,000 Americans commit suicide yearly using various means such as substance abuse medications. Problems associated with mental health are among the biggest risk factors for suicide ideation and subsequent attempts. 

Some of the most commonly diagnosed problems associated with both chronic and non-chronic suicide ideation include substance abuse medications and bipolar disorder diagnosed. Approximately 90 percent of people who attempt to end their lives have been diagnosed with at least one mental health problem.

There’s a close link between substance abuse medications, depression, and suicide ideation. Both depression and addiction create a vicious cycle that often results in suicidal thoughts. People experiencing severe depression, either due to bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or other factors usually find solace in alcohol, drugs, gambling, and other high-risk behaviors in an attempt to quiet their pain or have a more positive feeling and prevent suicide ideation.

Substance abuse medications and addiction always increase the risk factors and time length of depression and suicide ideation, no matter the temporary relief they may seem to offer – this, in turn, increases the probability of suicide ideation. This is increased by the fact that drug addiction mostly destroys relationships – further making the risk of suicide ideation higher. To add to that, most substances greatly affect judgment, causing suicidal thoughts.

Factors that cause suicidal thoughts

Just as its causes, suicide ideation cases are unique for each individual. Usually, more than one factor leads to suicide attempts – it’s usually caused by many underlying factors including substance abuse medications.

Some Popular Risk Factors for Suicide Ideation Are:

  • Suicide attempts of the past
  • Depression
  • Drug abuse
  • Alcoholism
  • A family history of suicide
  • History of violence in the family
  • Incarceration in the past
  • Presence dangerous weapons such as firearms
  • Violence towards other people

Among these risk factors, only depression stands as the biggest because 66 percent of suicide ideation victims are depressed. This number is close to that of substance abuse medications. People that have substance abuse disorder are about six times more likely to commit suicide. 

Statistics indicate that men who suffer from substance abuse issues are more than twice more likely to become victims of suicide ideation. 

How Bipolar Disorder Causes Suicidal Thoughts

Anytime a person gets diagnosed with bipolar and substance abuse medications disorder, it increases their risk factors for suicide ideation. If you have a family member or friend that suffers from either one of these issues, it is best to encourage them to go for rehab. Reach us today to find out more. Research has shown that bipolar disorders increase the risk of suicide. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry reported that about 80 per cent of patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder struggle with suicidal ideation.

The Study Shows that Some Risk Indicators Are:

Even though the prevalence of suicidal ideation in both bipolar I and II disorders are almost the same, they have different risk factors. 

The Link Between Substance Abuse and Suicide Ideation

While it is hard comparing how impactful suicide ideation and substance abuse medications are among different mental health patients, people that are suffering from substance abuse or a heavy dependence on drugs and alcohol are almost more likely to attempt suicide than those without this disorder. 

Those who have experienced a lot of low periods in their lives try to fix these issues with either drugs or alcohol – this leaves them at a greater risk of suicide ideation. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), drug abuse is among the biggest risk factors for suicide ideation. A person that has been diagnosed with this disorder has a greater risk of experiencing suicidal thoughts.

Various studies on those treating drug and alcohol disorders report that previous and current suicide attempts are common. Men that have one of these disorders are 3 times more likely to commit suicide than men without substance abuse medications. For women, substance abuse disorder makes them six times more likely to become victims of suicide ideation. 

Detecting Substance Abusers who might be Suicidal

Even though there’s a big link between substance abuse medications and suicide ideation, some patients of substance abuse don’t end up committing suicide. It is thus necessary to detect people who suffer from substance disorders and might be at a higher risk of suicide attempts.

Most suicidal risk factors apply to victims of substance disorders. Older people are at more risk of suicidal ideation than younger people. A major risk factor of subsequent suicidal thoughts in patients of substance abuse is past suicide attempts. In general, depression is a risk factor for suicide ideation – especially in those that are suffering from drug or alcohol use disorders – because there’s a strong link between depression and suicide in victims of substance abuse. 

Recent research on people suffering from substance abuse tries to engage in suicidal ideation. For instance, those that use cocaine, opiates, and sedatives could have a higher risk of suicide than those who use other less harmful drugs; people that have the alcoholic disorder have a higher risk of suicide attempts. 

Assessing and Managing Risk Factors

As of today, there’s no scale to accurately determine the risk of suicide ideation because suicide comes from a mixture of various risk factors. This is even hard if all scales were brought together to form one risk assessment medium, other clinical risk factors will not be included. Additionally, it is difficult to predict suicide ideation because, according to research, 83 percent of suicide-related deaths were unavoidable and unpredicted. It is therefore important to use good judgment and clinical assessment. The study further states that there various methods of evaluating people for potential suicidal ideation. 

Risk factors can be grouped as either acute or static. Clinicians must pay attention to the unique risk factors shown by suicide ideation patients and are known to be victims of substance abuse medications. Although these risk factors can suddenly change, they are easy targets for efficient treatment. Some of them include recent drug or alcohol abuse, lingering depression, criminal record, and inability to control aggression.

The major aim of an intervention is to take care of serious risk factors and to regularly make sure that the patient is safe. As a precautionary measure, people that stand at a higher risk of suicide ideation need to be hospitalized and detoxed as soon as possible. Similarly, the patient must know that they are under rehabilitation. This is particularly true for those under substance abuse medications because their condition can involve treatment for methadone and buprenorphine (proven to protect against suicide ideation). 

Treatment with methadone has been proven to make patients 20 percent less likely to become suicidal. As patients of suicide ideation receive treatment for alcohol abuse, it is recommended for them to undergo various protective models, including having protection against factors such as behavioral, biological, cultural, and environmental. 

When patients of substance abuse and other psychiatric disorders undergo good clinical care, this will reduce their suicidal ideation. Additionally, quick access to different clinical and non-clinical solutions can be beneficial. Interventions such as motivational interviewing, psychotherapy, cultural engagement, love from family members, encouraged spiritual beliefs, and reducing exposure to alcohol can be vital. 

Consequently, counselors need to address lingering addiction issues of suicide ideation victims because those that suffer from psychiatric disorders tend to end up having a lower life span because they stand a higher risk of contracting illnesses related to smoking and consequently premature death, compared to others. 

Warning Signs of Suicide Ideation

Anybody that thinks about suicide is very different; the same can be said for the warning signs they show. Some of them show common warning signs for long before committing suicide; some don’t publicly show any warning signs. It is rare for a single individual to show a lot of warning signs.

Popular Warning Signs for Suicide Ideation Are:

  • Having affection for death
  • Feeling trapped
  • Behaving in an agitated or anxious manner
  • Exhibiting reckless character
  • Slowly isolating from family and friends
  • Showing no concerns for social situations
  • Leaving hobbies or other sources of fun
  • Lack of sleep
  • Chronic drug and alcohol abuse
  • High irritability
  • Lack of hope
  • Reduced work or academic performance

Extensive Care

An extensive treatment plan can be beneficial for patients with substance abuse or bipolar disorder. It is advisable for clinicians to first focus on managing substance abuse before they go to bipolar disorder or suicide ideation. Since those suffering from bipolar disorder mostly get triggered to consume alcohol or take other drugs, their mental health conditions mostly get worse when they abuse substances. Any current abuse issue will make it almost impossible to effectively cure the other condition.

Instead, opt for a double diagnosis rehab program that promises to offer top-quality care for both disorders simultaneously.

As a Family, Go for A Treatment Program that Promises: 

Read more on the current views of society on mental health issues and how the future generation can change this perspective. Recovery Unscripted reveals the thoughts of Sam Webb.

Note that the intensity and personalization of a suicide ideation treatment program greatly affect the patient. Programs that are more personalized and intense will enable a patient to recover faster. Contact us today at 615-490-9376 so we can talk to you about how our programs can treat your suicide ideation problems.