Substance Misuse Linked to Suicidal Behaviors

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Substance Misuse Linked to Suicidal Behaviors

A study led by the University of Massachusetts Medical School finds that suicidal behaviors are linked to substance misuse. The study analyzed data from 874 emergency department patients from 8 hospitals across the United States between the years 2010 and 2012. All of these patients were participants in the Emergency Department Safety Assessment and Follow-up Evaluation Study.

These patients had reported a suicide attempt or suicidal thoughts during their visits to the ER. Many also reported misusing substances such as alcohol, painkillers, stimulants and cocaine. Sometimes, these substances were used in conjunction with each other. Specifically 298 patients misused alcohol, 72 misused cocaine and 41 misused both simultaneously. The patients misusing both alcohol and cocaine had a very high link to suicide attempts, 2.4 times higher than the other patients.

The study also found that substance abuse or misuse was not necessarily an indicator of suicide risk among women. This does not mean women are not as suicidal as men, the link was just weaker.

 

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