Study Finds Suicidal Ideation Nearly Doubled As Result Of Pandemic
When you are struggling with substance misuse or addiction, you are likely at an increased risk of suicide. In scientific surveys, people who struggle with addiction report more feelings of deep depression and suicidal ideation than those suffering from mental health issues alone.
Turning to the use or misuse of substances is usually done to numb the pain of conflicts in work or personal relationships. If left unaddressed, the use of substances can increase and become problematic, which in turn, begins the destructive cycle. The substance abuse only works to exacerbate the conflict and often leads to the person feeling even more hurt and isolated.
These feelings of aloneness and isolation are what lead to depression, and researchers believe this is catalyst in the connection between addiction and suicide. It may be inconsequential what came first, the depression or the addiction, but what is known is that they are very strongly connected and present a huge risk of suicide to those suffering.
According to the CDC, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and sadly, it is 100% preventable. SAMHSA reports that more than 39,000 people die by suicide per year. That averages out to 108 suicides everyday. We are aware that depression is a major cause of suicide, but those who suffer from a substance use disorder are almost 6 times more likely to attempt suicide in their lifetime than those who do not struggle with substance abuse. In fact, research has shown that one of the strongest predictors of suicide is alcoholism. Among those that suffer with substance abuse disorders, men are 2.3 more likely to die by suicide, and women are 6.5 times more likely to die by suicide than their counterparts who do not suffer with substance abuse disorders (Journal of the American Medical Association, Nov 2010).
The statistics on the suicide rates and their connection to substance abuse disorders are ever changing. The world today is much different than it was a few years ago. We are more isolated; loved ones may have passed away or we are unable to see them; and we might not be able to have the social interaction we once did at work or school. This has left more and more people feeling lost and alone. The CDC found that the number of people who had considered suicide in 2020 was nearly double that of the previous year. (see CDC article: Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, June 24–30, 2020)
As we are gaining an increasing awareness of mental disorders, substance abuse disorders, and their connection, the world becomes more informed and open to communication about these issues. The stigma related to depression falls away, and the judgment attached to substance abuse turns to understanding instead of shaming. Because so many people are suffering, it is crucial that society takes notice and begins taking steps to prevent and treat these issues.
If you or someone you love are feeling the effects of substance abuse and/or depression, don’t ignore it. Talk to someone who can help. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to speak with someone immediately.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction or depression, we can help. Recovery Ways is a premier drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility located in Salt Lake City, Utah. We have the resources to effectively treat a dual diagnosis. Our mission is to provide the most cost-effective, accessible substance abuse treatment to as many people as possible. Request information online or call us today at 1-888-986-7848.