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Fast Facts About Suicide and Substance Use

What You Need to Know About the Link Between the Two

It's no secret that mental health and substance use are often linked. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about half of all people with a substance use disorder also have a mental illness.

And while many different factors can contribute to someone developing a substance use disorder, research has shown that people with a mental illness are more likely to turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate.

But what about the other side of the equation? What role does substance use play in suicide? Here's what you need to know.

Suicide is a Serious Concern for Those Who Struggle with Addiction

While suicide is a serious concern for anyone struggling with a mental illness, it's an especially pressing issue for those battling addiction. Here are some fast facts from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) about the link between suicide and substance use to consider:

  • Suicide is the 9th leading cause of death in the United States for those ages 10 to 64.

  • It is the second leading cause of death for those between the ages of 10 to 14 and 25 to 34.

  • Every 11 minutes, an American dies by suicide.

  • Drug and alcohol use play a role in about 1-in-4 suicides.

  • People with a substance use disorder are six times more likely to attempt suicide than the general population.

  • Mental illness is a major risk factor for suicide, with about 90% of people who die by suicide having a diagnosable mental disorder.

Understanding the Link Between Suicide and Substance Use

Many factors can contribute to the link between suicide and substance use. Here are some of the most common:

  • Substance use can lead to or worsen existing mental health conditions.

  • People who use drugs or alcohol are more likely to experience problems in their personal relationships, which can lead to feelings of isolation and desperation.

  • Substance use can lead to financial problems, which can add to the stress and hopelessness that someone is feeling.

  • People who struggle with addiction are more likely to engage in risky behaviors, increasing their chance of suicidal thoughts or attempts.

What You Can Do to Help

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, getting help as soon as possible is important. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free, and confidential support for people in distress. You can call them by dialing 9-8-8 from any phone line.

The Lakes Treatment Center wants to help you or your loved one get the treatment and care you need to recover from addiction and mental illness. We offer a variety of programs and services customized to meet your unique needs. Contact us today to learn more.


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