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Addiction, Mental Health, and the Risk of Suicide

With the recent deaths of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade, suicide and mental health concerns have become major topics in the news. Many people recovering from addiction face other mental health concerns, including depression, that may contribute to thoughts of suicide. It is important to note that recovery from addiction does not mean that one will also recover from other mental health problems, and it is imperative that men and women in recovery seek professional help if they are having thoughts of suicide.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Because drug abuse and addiction—both of which are mental disorders—often co-occur with other mental illnesses, patients presenting with one condition should be assessed for the other(s). And when these problems co-occur, treatment should address both (or all), including the use of medications as appropriate.” Sometimes depression can go away as a result of sobriety, but often therapy and other forms of treatment are necessary to address mental health concerns.

Men and women suffering from addiction are about six times more likely to commit suicide than the rest of the population. Dr. Carolyn C. Ross, in a 2014 Psychology Today article entitled Suicide: One of Addiction’s Hidden Risks, explains, “Substance abuse not only increases the likelihood that a person will take their own life, but it is also used as a means for committing suicide. Roughly one in three people who die from suicide are under the influence of drugs, typically opiates such as oxycodone or heroin, or alcohol. Poisoning is the third-leading method used in suicide deaths, and drugs make up 75 percent of suicide deaths due to poisoning.” However, suicide rates are also high among men and women in the early stages of sobriety.

Early recovery often results in reexperiencing deep emotions, including shame and guilt, that may contribute to depression. For a period of a few months to a few years, an individual may experience symptoms of post-acute withdrawal that include depression, anxiety, and impulsiveness that could result in suicidal thoughts and feelings. With time, these feelings often go away on their own, but if they begin to feel overwhelming, it is extremely important to seek professional help.

If you are having thoughts of suicide, please immediately call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255.

Your life doesn’t have to be held back by the chains of addiction. You can make the decision to seek help today and begin building a brighter future. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, brings together the highest quality behavioral health and addictions specialists, holistic experts, and spiritual guides to help clients develop all the tools necessary to achieve and maintain sobriety. For information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431