Getting Help for Suicide and Addiction
In 2013, over 40,000 people in the U.S. died of suicide, which is equal to 1 death every 13 minutes.3 Women are more likely to attempt suicide, while men are more likely to complete suicide.1
Many people who experience suicidal thoughts also suffer from a substance abuse disorder. Read on to learn more about suicidal thoughts, addiction, and mental health, including:
- Finding an inpatient recovery center for suicidal thoughts and addiction.
- Suicide risk factors and warning signs.
- Information about mood and personality disorders.
If you’re in crisis, dial 911 or call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 immediately.
How to Find the Best Inpatient Recovery Center
Many inpatient treatment centers are able to provide care for people with suicidal thoughts and addiction. They offer around-the-clock care to help control the risk factors of suicide. The staff members will make sure that you don’t have access to weapons or dangerous medications. They are on-call if you find that you want to hurt yourself.
At an inpatient recovery center, staff will work with you to create a customized treatment plan that they can monitor and adjust as they get to know you and understand what works best for you. The staff don’t just see you once a week for a few minutes. They’re a part of your daily life, and they have the unique advantage of being able to treat you because they know you, not because they know people similar to you.
Services Offered an Inpatient Facilities
The best inpatient suicidal thoughts and addiction recovery centers will provide you with a wide range of services such as:
- Intake evaluation: Mental health professionals will evaluate the scope of your addiction as well as your suicidal thoughts and any co-occurring mental health diagnoses. This will allow them to create a comprehensive treatment plan that will best address your needs.
- Detoxification: The addiction recovery center will provide you with comfort care and medication-assisted detoxification, if necessary, before beginning your recovery process. This will help to alleviate some unpleasant withdrawal symptoms and prepare your body for a healthy life.
- Pharmacotherapy: If you are suffering from a mood disorder or personality disorder, some medications, such as antidepressants, may be used in conjunction with behavioral therapies
- Individual therapy: You will meet one-on-one with a therapist who will analyze the relationship between your thoughts, feelings and behaviors, while teaching you important coping skills to used during recovery.
- Group counseling: You will also attend group counseling sessions run by a mental health professional in order to develop socialization techniques and share experiences associated with addiction and suicidal thoughts.
- Aftercare planning: The staff will work with you on a comprehensive aftercare treatment plan for you to follow after completing your inpatient stay. The ongoing treatment options may include: 12-step programs, individual therapy, group counseling and sober living homes.
What to Look for in a Recovery Center
Sometimes, the most important thing is getting into a recovery center as quickly as possible. However, if you have time to do some research on treatment centers beforehand, pay attention to:
- Cost. Find out how much your insurance will cover, and if you will have any out-of-pocket costs. You can contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) national helpline for referrals to local programs that offer sliding scale fees or other payment arrangements.
- Location. Consider how far you want to travel for treatment and whether removing yourself from your current environment could benefit your recovery.
- Staff. If possible, find out if the staff at the program have experience treating dual diagnosis disorders and if they have certifications or degrees in addiction or counseling.
- Amenities. Think about whether features such as a nice gym, yoga classes and fine dining are important to you and could help you recover.
Many people transition from inpatient to outpatient treatment. Outpatient treatment happens in your own community and allows you to live at home.
Outpatient recovery programs offer individual and group counseling. You can continue to get support on an ongoing basis, which can help prevent relapse and allow you to discuss any issues that may come up once you return to your day-to-day life.
Risk Factors for Suicide
Although anyone can experience suicidal thoughts, some risk factors can increase the odds of experiencing suicidal ideation. Common risk factors for suicide are: 1,2,4
- Substance abuse.
- Mental health disorders.
- Personality disorders.
- Major life events.
- Prior suicide attempts.
- Family history of mental illness or suicide attempts.
- Chronic pain.
- Prolonged stress due to bullying, harassment, unemployment and relationship difficulties.
Anyone who is experiencing suicidal thoughts should seek treatment for any of the above conditions to decrease his or her risk of a suicide attempt.
According to National Violent Death data, of those who died of suicide in 2010:3
- About 33% tested positive for alcohol.
- Nearly 24% tested positive for antidepressants.
- 20% tested positive for opioids (prescription drugs and heroin)
Suicide Warning Signs
A person may give both verbal and behavioral signs that he or she may be considering suicide. 2 Sudden and drastic changes in behavior are often tell-tale signs of an impending suicide attempt.
A person contemplating suicide may mention the following in conversation:
- Being a burden to others.
- Having no reason to live.
- Experiencing feelings of being trapped.
- What it would be like to kill themselves.
They may also exhibit observable, behavioral changes:
- Increased substance abuse.
- Reckless and impulsive actions.
- Saying goodbye to loved ones.
- Giving away possessions.
- Drastic changes in sleep patterns.
- Searching online for information about suicide.
- Withdrawing from others.
- Demonstrating aggression, depression, rage, anxiety, irritability, etc.
- Persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness and hopelessness.
- Loss of interest or pleasure in previously enjoyed activities.
- Noticeable weight loss or gain.
- Consistent hypersomnia or insomnia.
- Slow movements.
- A marked loss of energy.
- Inappropriate guilt or feelings of worthlessness.
- Inability to focus on tasks.
- Recurring suicidal thoughts.
Mental Health Disorders, Suicide and Addiction
Many inpatient treatment centers specialize in the treatment of dual diagnosis, which means that the person suffers from a substance addiction and a co-occurring mental health condition, which can cause and influence suicidal thoughts.
Substance abuse and mental health disorders are risk factors for suicide. Treating both conditions adequately will help to rectify suicidal thoughts and create a more positive outlook for the person moving forward.
Depression and Substance Abuse
Major depressive disorder often co-occurs with substance addiction, borderline personality disorder and panic disorder. 4 Suicidal thoughts can occur at any time throughout a major depressive episode and previous suicide attempts are a risk factor for completed suicide in those with this disorder. 4
Depression is characterized by a number of debilitating symptoms, such as:4
Sometimes, those affected by this mental health condition are so incapacitated that they are unable to tend to their basic needs, such as bathing and eating. Being single or living alone is another major risk factor for this population to complete suicide.
Bipolar Disorder and Substance Abuse
Those who suffer from bipolar disorder are about 15 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population. Further data suggests that a quarter of those who have committed suicide had bipolar disorder. 4
Bipolar disorder is manifested by extreme and intense shifts in emotion, mood and behavior. Those afflicted by this mood disorder experience varying states of mania, characterized by the following: 4
- A decreased need for sleep.
- Excessive euphoria.
- Inflated self-esteem.
- Increased distractibility.
- Impulsive and risky behaviors.
- Increase in goal-oriented activities.
Further, they experience major depressive episodes, which are characterized by the following:4
- Emptiness or hopelessness.
- Loss of interest or pleasure.
- Significant weight loss or weight gain.
- Insomnia or hypersomnia.
- Slow movements.
- Lack of energy.
- Excessive guilt or feelings of worthlessness.
- Inability to focus.
- Persistent suicidal ideation.
Over 50% of those with bipolar disorder also suffer from a comorbid substance abuse addiction. Those who have both conditions are more likely to commit suicide than those with one or the other. 4
Borderline Personality Disorder and Suicide
One of the major symptoms of borderline personality disorder is recurrent suicidal or self-harming behavior.4 People with borderline personality disorder have a consistent pattern of instability in many facets of life, such as self-image, affect and relationships.
Further signs of this personality disorder are:4
- Volatile and unstable mood.
- Consistent feelings of emptiness.
- Detrimental impulsive behaviors (substance abuse, binge eating, dangerous driving, spending spree, unsafe sex).
- Severe and inappropriate anger.
- Dissociative symptoms (disconnection or detachment).
- Inconsistent self-identity or self-image.
- Unstable but intense interpersonal relationships that shift between idealization and devaluation of others.
- Intense fear of and frequent efforts to avoid imagined or real abandonment.
Those affected by borderline personality disorder commonly suffer from a co-occurring substance abuse disorder. About 8% to 10% of these people complete suicide. 4
Both addiction and suicidal ideation are a major concern for this population. It’s vital that those with this disorder seek proper dual diagnosis treatment to improve negative self-image, feelings and behaviors while practicing abstinence.
Get Help Finding a Program
You’re a whole person, not just a collection of symptoms, problems and issues. Inpatient suicidal thoughts and addiction recovery programs allow you to get away and focus on becoming the best version of yourself – a person free of addiction and better able to cope with life’s problems. Don’t wait any longer to find the help you need.
. National Institute of Mental Health. (2015). Suicide in America: Frequently Asked Questions. (2015).
. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. (2016). Risk Factors and Warning Signs.
. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Suicide: Facts at a Glance.
. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5. (2013). Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association.
You are never too old to improve your health and quality of life!