There are many connections to be made with alcohol and addiction: mental and physical health issues, divorce, and abuse, among others. Some are well-known such as liver disease, while others are lesser-known such as links to depression and anxiety. The link to depression leads to an even greater issue: suicide.
While alcohol consumption itself does not cause suicide, there are links to alcoholism and suicide rates. In fact, people with alcoholism are 120 times more likely to commit suicide than those not dependent on alcohol. Furthermore, 29 percent of people who commit suicide are found with alcohol in their system.
The greatest problem in these situations is many alcoholics either do not realize or deny their addiction and depression. How can a person know for sure? What are the signs, the connections, and how can they handle them?
Finding the Connection
When trying to find connections to illnesses, one of the most common questions is, “Is it genetic?” To this day, the connection between genetics and alcoholism and depression still have questions to be answered. While science has discovered personality traits that lead to alcoholism can be inherited, nothing is absolute.
The same applies to mental health conditions such as depression. However, living in certain environments can develop symptoms of depression and other mental health issues like anxiety.
Above all else, however, it is crucial to understand that neither alcoholism or depression is a choice. While you can make the choice to improve, developing depression and alcoholism are often out of an individual’s control.
Common Signs of Alcoholism and Suicidal Behavior
If alcoholism and depression can develop unknowingly and out of your control, how can you stop it? There are many behavioral traits and habits to look out for, even if you do not notice them immediately. Even if you yourself are unsure of them, friends and family can comment on some as well.
Feelings of desperation and need for escape surface the most often, with alcohol as an escape for stress. In the most extreme cases, suicide can feel like the only escape away from a miserable life. Nevertheless, what is important is not the reason for suicide, but the thoughts and actions that come with suicidal behavior.
People who struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts also tend to isolate themselves from others. Typically, this is to avoid bothering others, but also may do so to drink their troubles away. Not all alcoholics completely isolate themselves and some may drink with others in an attempt to feel better.
Many alcoholics also fail to realize that their drinking problems make their depression even worse. Alcoholics tend to avoid responsibilities at home and work, become irritable, experience mood swings or suffer blackouts and memory loss. Because of many of these problems, alcoholics are led to further believe suicide is their only escape.
What to Do?
Different people handle their suicidal thoughts and feelings in different ways. Some may be extremely vocal about wanting to kill themselves, while others remain completely silent. Regardless, they will often research methods of suicide, organize personal and financial affairs, or stop taking important medications.
When an alcoholic threatens suicide, always take it seriously—regardless of whether it is a cry for attention. Contact the police immediately and prepare to contact close friends and family members for help in recovery. If you notice signs that the alcoholic you know could be suicidal, prepare a support group for intervention and approach them carefully.
If you yourself are suicidal and struggle with alcoholism, you should approach close friends and family for help. Those who love you will be understanding in your struggles and wish to help you. Once situations are stable, consider reaching out to therapy and rehabilitation for both alcoholism and depression. The road to recovery can be rigid, but by knowing the signs and seeking professional help, you can begin to lead a better life.
If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, contact a local Treatment & Rehab alternative in Tennessee. You might be interested in Discovery Place’s own treatment center alternatives, such as our 30 Day Residential Addiction Alternative Recovery Program or our Long Term Alternative Recovery Program in Burns, Tennessee. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-725-0922.