As National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month shines a light on this serious subject, it is an ideal time to familiarize ourselves with suicide warning signs and helpful resources. Suicide prevention and awareness is always important, and September is the time when we’re reminded just how fragile life can be.
Already at Risk
Addicts often display a greater risk for suicidal thoughts and/or actions than those who are not dependent on drugs or alcohol. Along with the battle against substance abuse they’re in the midst of—or emerging from—their suicide risk can be heightened due to depression, social isolation, or financial hardships.
In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused depression to rise across the board due to solitude, fear, and overall uncertainty. Addicts who may be impulsive or engage in self-harm could contemplate suicide as a solution to the current state of affairs.
Recognize the Signs
According to statistics, one in three people who die by suicide were intoxicated at the time. In addition, drug users experience behavioral swings that could convince them to act out on suicidal thoughts without a chance to collect/correct themselves.
While those currently in rehab may not be using, their history can affect their thoughts and actions. The stress of recovery can become overwhelming, especially during something as profound as this pandemic.
Warning signs may be subtle or significant. It’s up to loved ones, as well as the individual, to tune into the signals and spring into action. Anything questionable is reason enough to be alarmed, and when the signs are undeniable, a moment wasted could have devastating effects.
Some common warning signs to watch out for:
- an uptick in drug/alcohol use/abuse
- withdrawal from friends and family
- mood swings and impulsive/aggressive behavior
- tying up loose ends both personally and professionally
- saying goodbye to loved ones
- purchasing a weapon or collecting pills
Stepping Up and Stepping In
If you suspect a loved one may be suicidal, time is of the essence and finding help is a must. If the addict himself isn’t able to ask for help, his behaviors can indicate he is in trouble. Paying attention and offering support is essential when things seem hopeless or especially hard to deal with.
Reach out for professional help if you or a friend or family member is struggling. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline anytime: 800-273-8255. (All calls are confidential.) You can also send a text to 741-741.
In addition, rehab facilities are staffed with professionals who are able to spot suicidal tendencies exhibited by their patients. If a friend or family member is abusing drugs or alcohol, a stay at such a facility can not only lead to a sober future, but can potentially prevent suicide.
The risk for suicide is real, particularly when linked to depression and substance abuse. A comprehensive rehab/treatment program will address the patient’s issues with dependency, depression, and other contributing factors that led to their addiction.
If you or someone you know is battling addiction and may have suicidal ideations, holistic help is available. Please contact our trained admissions counselors at 866-349-1770.