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Reaching the Breaking Point: Addiction, mental health and suicide

Posted on: July 10th, 2015 in Addiction, Depression, Mental Health No Comments


Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. Depression and other mental health disorders are the primary risk factors for suicide, but addiction comes in at a close second. Recent research has shown that those who suffer from addiction are six times more likely to commit suicide than the rest of the general population.

The link between mental illness and suicide has been well studied and these mental health conditions have proven to have a strong connection to suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. Roughly 90 percent of all people who commit suicide had met criteria for at least one or more diagnosable mental illnesses. Conditions such as bipolar disorder, depression, schizophrenia and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), all share a common link with suicide attempts. In many cases, patients who struggle with these mental illnesses will chronically abuse drugs and alcohol to mask their symptoms and cope with their everyday struggles. Among addicts, depression is two to four times more prevalent when compared to those who are not dependent on substances.

Many who struggle with drug and alcohol addiction find themselves stuck with feelings of  hopelessness so great they may see suicide as the only way out. While under the influence of drugs, users often lose sight of their inhibitions and find themselves willing to take risks that they normally wouldn’t be willing to take. Approximately one in three people who die due to suicide are intoxicated when the event occurs.

While many people resort to self-medication to cope with the symptoms of their mental illness, once the drugs and alcohol run out, these addicts are, again, stuck with troublesome emotions. As the consequences of their addictions start to compound, the perceived list of options may boil down to two gruesome options: continually abusing drugs or death.

The suicide rate among patients with untreated addiction problems has been found to be as high as 45 percent. Unfortunately, only 11 percent of addicts receive drug addiction treatment. In some cases, patients may demonstrate symptoms of a mental illness when they are under the influence of drugs, which can cause complications in treatment if they are not properly assessed. Some addiction treatment providers offer dual diagnosis programs to address these issues.

Dual diagnosis treatment ensures that both the patient’s mental condition and substance abuse problem require equal attention and make sure that a thorough assessment takes place. At these facilities, there are teams of licensed therapists and psychiatrists which can make sure that any co-occurring mental illnesses receive the attention that they need. Overall though obtaining proper and effective treatment for a mental illness and/or an addiction can often lower the risk of an individual finding themselves considering or attempting suicide.

Licensed dual diagnosis treatment centers like Sovereign Health Group provide patients with an in-depth evaluation process to ensure that their mental state is properly assessed before and after they are withdrawn from any substance abuse. We offer various inpatient and outpatient treatment programs for patients who are struggling with drug addiction, mental health disorders and dual diagnosis. If you know someone who is struggling with a mental illness and is in need of addiction treatment, please do not hesitate to call. You may reach us at 888-530-4614. Our admissions helpline is open 24/7 and one of our treatment specialists will assist you in finding the right treatment option for you.

Written by Benjamin Creekmore, Sovereign Health Group writer

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