Are Addicts More At Risk For Suicide?
Many people who suffer from addiction also have underlying mental health issues. These issues could be depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder, etc. Often times the mental health issues arise before the addiction and go undiagnosed. Having a serious issue undiagnosed can lead the addict to start using in the first place.
The Journal of Affective Disorders published a study on the overall risk of suicide in an addict. The study followed patients at an addiction treatment center. The results showed that 68 percent of patients were depressed and 28 percent had attempted suicide within the last year. What was interesting about these patients is that they all had similar characteristics. For example, they all had a family history of drug abuse. This could have also contributed to their mental health issues because they grew up in a dysfunctional environment. Next, their depression started before their addiction, which added to the suicide risk. Finally, they all used either alcohol or marijuana as their gateway drug to harsher substances, like opioids. They may have turned to the alcohol or marijuana as a way to escape their depression, but it only led them into a deeper addiction.
Another study published by the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence also linked addiction to suicide. However, they found that cocaine and amphetamine users were more likely to attempt suicide that people who use other drugs.
These studies show it is important to diagnose underlying issues while going through treatment for addiction. You have to understand why you began using in order to stop and recover.