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Substance Use Disorder & Suicidal Ideation: Warning Signs Your Loved One Needs Help


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Note: If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Your life matters.

Over the years, we’ve lost many people to overdose; the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that 64,000 Americans died from drug overdose in 2016 and, while we cannot determine the exact cause for each of these deaths it’s safe to say that suicide does account for a portion of them. According to Reuters, an information sources on all things related to world, business, markets, politics, and TV, a study was conducted by researchers who analyzed information reported on 36,190 suicides and 4,391 undetermined deaths – they suggested that overdose suicides are likely under-accounted for. Previous studies have shown that substance abuse is a risk factor for suicide, making this a key area of education and prevention.

A 2016 study published in the Journal of Public Health involved in the analysis of 12,413 references and 43 studies with a total of 870,967 participants to see if there were any major links between substance use disorders (SUDs) and suicidal ideation. Overall, the researchers found that there is a strong link – making it important that you recognize several warning signs that your loved one may need help:

  • Talking about death, wanting to die, or using substances to hurt oneself or die by suicide
  • Increasing substance use
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, and social activities
  • Acting aggressively
  • Writing about death

We can’t always know what our loved ones are going through, but we can try to be loving and supportive whenever we’re able. If you believe your loved one may need immediately help, dial 911. If you want to provide them with resources, start up a conversation with them by explaining that you’ve noticed some changes in them lately that concern you. Express your love for them, and suggest potential resources such as local organizations or treatment centers they could attend for help. Sometimes, hosting an intervention could be beneficial if your loved one isn’t open to listening. Don’t give up on your loved one. You could very well save their life.

Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing both substance abuse and symptoms of a mental disorder, call us today at 888-743-0490 so that we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.