In the United States each year, more than 40,000 people die by their own hand. In fact, the 10th most common cause of death in our country is suicide. It is also the third leading cause of death of Americans aged 10-14 and the second leading cause for Americans aged 15-34.Although complicated and tragic, the good news is that suicide is often preventable as long as people pay attention and take action when they notice someone at risk. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we want to focus this week’s blog post on suicide, because it is so often intertwined with depression and addiction, both of which we see quite often at MFI.
Substance Abuse & Suicide
Suicide, addiction, and depression form a symbiotic relationship. Experts agree that more than 90% of people who commit suicide do so because they suffer from depression, struggle with a substance abuse disorder, or both. Depressed people often turn to drugs and/or alcohol in a vain attempt to find relief. Unfortunately, their addictions fuel the depression, sending them back to their Drug of Choice (DOC). Feeling hopelessly caught in an endless cycle, addicts often attempt suicide.
Who is most at risk?
- Struggle with depression, other mental disorders, or substance abuse disorders are generally more at risk of committing suicide than the general population.
- Has a serious medical condition
- Suffers from chronic pain
- Previously attempted suicide
- Family shares a history of a mental disorder or substance abuse, suicide, physical violence and/or sexual abuse
- Keeping guns (and ammunition) in the home
- Were recently released from jail or prison
- Exposed to others’ suicidal ideation, such as those of family members, peers, or celebrities
How to Spot the Signs
Does someone you love?
- Say they want to die or want to kill themselves?
- Talk about feeling empty, hopeless, or without reason to live?
- Make plans for a way to kill themselves? This can include searching online, stockpiling pills, or buying a weapon.
- Mention they have a great guilt or shame?
- Talk about feeling trapped or in despair?
- Feel unbearable emotional or physical pain?
- Say they are a burden to others?
- Use alcohol or drugs more often than previously?
- Act anxious or agitated?
- Withdraw from family and friends?
- Change eating and/or sleeping habits.
- Show rage or mention their desire to seek revenge?
- Engage in risky behaviors such as fast driving or drinking while driving?
- Seem obsessed with death?
- Display extreme mood swings, suddenly changing from very sad to very calm or happy?
- Give away meaningful possessions?
- Say goodbye to family and friends?
- Develop an urgency to draft their last will and testament?
Don’t make the mistake of ignoring someone who expresses suicidal thoughts or actions. These often signal extreme distress, not a meaningless ploy for attention.
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
- Suicide Prevention Resource Center
- National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Suicide Prevention
- Suicide Prevention Help Guide
- Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE)
- MFI Recovery Center (866) 218-4697
About MFI Recovery Center
Throughout 10 facilities in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, we employ the Matrix Model, creating a personalized treatment program for each client. Various modalities can include behavior modification, 12-Step program introduction, cognitive behavioral therapy, and family systems techniques, including the family in group therapy. Treatment options include outpatient and inpatient detox, medication management (if appropriate), group therapy, individual therapy, relapse prevention education, and ongoing support after treatment. To find out more, call today (866) 218-4697, or for non-admission related information, contact us at (951) 683-6596.