Suicide is a widespread public health problem in America. Though multiple influencing factors can give rise to suicidal thoughts and behaviors, substance abuse is one of the most significant. If you are living with an untreated addiction, you should know that your mental health is also at risk of getting steadily worse, and neither of these issues will resolve on their own.
The Scope of America’s Substance Abuse and Suicide Crisis
According to SAMHSA data, more than 41,000 U.S. deaths per year result from suicide. Opioid drugs play a role in 20% of these, while alcohol is involved in 22% of cases where people decide to end their lives. Among adults who responded to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 9.4 million said they had thought about suicide, 2.7 had made a suicide plan and 1.1 million reported trying to take their lives.
One potential reason substance use could cause you to consider or attempt suicide is that alcohol and drugs lower your inhibitions, making you more likely to take risks or fail to think through the consequences of your actions. If you regularly rely on these substances because you are anxious, depressed or trying to cope with the effects of trauma, you’ll probably notice your symptoms become more severe when you are intoxicated, which could make suicide feel like an escape from your problems. You may also believe that harming yourself will hurt less when you are under the influence.
Have a Suicide Prevention Plan
If you’re having a mental health crisis and contemplating suicide, there are options available to help you cope. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 anytime to speak to a counselor and get confidential support. Save this number in your phone’s contacts. Starting July 16, 988 will be the designated three-digit dialing code that will direct people to this hotline.
Have you contemplated hurting yourself or taking your life? If so, creating a safety plan and keeping it somewhere readily accessible can help.
- Make a list of triggers: What ideas, moods and circumstances have signaled an impending crisis in the past? Write these down and share the list with people who know you well.
- Choose healthy coping strategies: Come up with better ways to cope with your mental health symptoms, like exercising or doing deep breathing.
- Find support: Have someone you can talk to when you’re struggling with complex emotions, whether that’s your therapist, a compassionate family member or another person who understands what you’re going through.
- Change your environment: Have you thought of things around your home you might use to harm yourself? Work with a counselor to develop a plan to limit your access to these items.
Contact Canyon Crossing Recovery
Among our clients, we have seen suicidal thoughts caused by a substance use disorder decrease with effective treatment. Our women’s-only recovery community provides a compassionate, judgment-free environment where you can learn to navigate negative emotions and practice healthy coping skills that will support you on your recovery journey. Contact us today to discover more about how we can help you.