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Does Substance Abuse Pose a Risk for Suicide?

Is substance abuse a risk for suicide? Unfortunately, many addicts are unaware of the self-harm they expose themselves to when using drugs or alcohol. Substance abuse is a known risk to the brain and body, causing brain damage, cancer, and other medically based issues. Depression and substance abuse are the two highest risk factors for suicide. Therefore, substance abuse is a serious problem to both address and treat.

The Connection between Suicide and Substance Abuse

Suicide statistics are alarming. Is substance abuse a risk for suicide? Drug and alcohol poisoning is responsible for 75% of suicides. The percentage of suicides involving both drugs and alcohol is very high. Prescription drugs are the most commonly used drugs in suicide attempts. And yet, it’s very complicated and challenging to determine if the suicide was intentional or an unintentional overdose. Substance abuse is a risk of suicide.

Factors for Suicide and Substance Abuse

Is substance abuse a risk for suicide? Drugs alter brain chemistry and change how one thinks. Depression is a leading factor in substance abuse. When relationships suffer through addiction, the addict may think he has no one that cares. Addicts can feel alone. Below are some of the following emotions, feelings, and conditions connected to suicide.


Hopelessness and substance abuse can make the addict feel like they have no control over themself, no options to change, and everything in their life is gone. Loss of job, health, family, and friends can lead to no hope for the future. So there is no need to ask, is substance abuse a risk for suicide?

Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders

Those addicted have a very high-risk factor for mental illness. Depression, anxiety, and bipolar depression are significant risks for suicide. The combination of mental health disorder symptoms and drug abuse can cause suicidal thoughts. Not only is substance abuse a risk for suicide, depression is as well.


Having an overwhelming sense of helplessness is common in substance abuse. Unable to process feelings and emotions healthily, addicts believe suicide is the only way to relieve their pain. Wondering is substance abuse a risk for suicide? It is an essential factor in helplessness.


Sadness, discomfort, heart hurt, and total unhappiness builds into a very high wall to scale. Drugs numb this pain. Substance abuse can affect memory, so it seems as if there is nothing good to look back on. Unhappiness, to this extent, can cause avoidance behaviors and depression. When despair sets in, there is no escape.


Addiction results from an unhealthy choice in coping mechanisms. With regret comes shame and guilt. Overwhelming feelings that the addict can not cope with, so they use more drugs to self-medicate. Addicts believe in these cases that they are a failure in life. Is substance abuse a risk for suicide? Regret can make the addict feel like they don’t deserve to live.


The addict could have many people around but feel very alone because of the addiction. Those addicted can also isolate themselves from everyone they know and love. Shame keeps the addict from reaching out to others. Is substance abuse a risk for suicide? Suicide feels like the only escape from the deep loneliness they feel.

Addiction and Warning Signs of Suicide

Many people addicted to drugs and alcohol do not attempt suicide. However, it does not keep one from asking, is substance abuse a risk for suicide? Suicide has warning signs; we must all educate ourselves. If you should see someone you care about showing these signs, reach out to get them help.

  • The addict says they are a burden to so many people.
  • The addict constantly repeats that they want to die or hurt themselves.
  • The addict talks about feeling hopeless and having no reason to live.
  • The addict shows increased alcohol or substance abuse.
  • Avoidance or isolation behaviors from the addict to be distant from everyone.
  • Mood swings that seem out of character.
  • The addict gives away belongings.

If one of your friends or loved ones is in the throes of addiction, listen to what they say and express concern. In a case where the addict is talking about suicide or self-harm, find help immediately. Do not wait. Call 911 or text or call 988 for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. Be a part of breaking the stigma about substance abuse, mental illness, and suicide and get educated to become aware.

Find Help for Substance Abuse and Thoughts of Suicide in Atlanta GA

Find help for suicidal thoughts and your substance abuse with Retreat of Atlanta. Our professional staff specialize in detox, treatment, and recovery programs. If you have suicidal thoughts, we understand how lonely and unhappy you feel. We can help you through this despair and lead you toward a brighter future. Contact us today.

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