Sadly, suicide remains one of the leading causes of death in the U.S., which has led some mental health professionals to classify it as a severe epidemic. Every year, mental health organizations, suicide survivors and those whose lives have been touched by suicide commemorate National Suicide Awareness Month in September.
The goals of the month-long observance are to remember those we have lost to suicide, to promote nationwide recognition of people affected by suicide and to encourage those who need help to seek it.
Addiction and Mental Health Issues
Often, addiction and mental health disorders have a symbiotic relationship, so much so that it might be difficult to determine which came first. People experiencing depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder and other conditions may turn to drugs and alcohol to numb their negative feelings. However, any happiness these substances may bring is temporary, leaving users trapped in a vicious cycle that often leads to suicidal thoughts and ideas.
Everyone who contemplates suicide arrives at that conclusion for different reasons. Some people may display red flags of suicidal ideation for a long time, while others may appear to be leading normal, happy lives before attempting suicide. On the other side of the coin, many people who seem depressed or hopeless never succumb to suicide.
The most common warning signs of suicide include:
- Talking about death
- Feelings of being stuck or trapped
- Acting agitated or anxious
- Reckless behavior
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Avoidance of social situations
- Loss of interest in hobbies or other enjoyable activities
- Substance abuse
- Extreme mood swings
- Sudden decline in performance at work or school
The Link Between Suicide and Drug Overdoses
While many drug overdoses are accidental and result from the way specific substances – or combinations of substances – affect the central nervous system, some overdoses could be a cry for help. People with severe substance use disorders can become so impaired by their disease that they can no longer make responsible decisions. Poor impulse control and a tendency toward reckless behavior might cause a person living with addiction to view suicide as the only solution to worsening problems such as unemployment, financial difficulties, legal issues and deteriorating relationships.
Because substance abuse substantially increases the risk of suicide, one of the most critical steps in suicide prevention is to seek accredited addiction treatment. In rehab, you will learn how to address the underlying causes of your substance misuse disorder, including any related mental health symptoms that are making your problems worse.
You’ll also learn the tools and coping skills to improve your judgment and self-control. Under the care of trained mental health and addiction professionals, you will begin to take steps toward a full recovery from substance use and co-occurring disorders. Contact Vista Taos Renewal Center to learn more about embarking on your journey toward freedom.
What to Do When Life Feels Overwhelming
We all have days where our burdens seem heavy – especially during this turbulent time. If you have been contemplating suicide, or if you suspect someone you care about might be having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) 24 hours a day, seven days a week.