The dependence on alcohol is considered a risk factor to suicide and the increased use of alcohol or drugs should be looked at as a possible warning sign.
But just how interconnected is alcohol use and suicide?
Alcoholics are 120 times more likely to die by suicide than the general population.
One of the reasons alcoholics are so at risk for suicide is because of the connection among alcohol, depression and suicide. Often, people who become addicted to alcohol are depressed either before, while or after developing their dependency. In addition, heavy drinking can negatively affect how a person deals with stress, thinks logically and controls moods or impulses. There are also genetic and environmental factors that contributes to someone becoming reliant on alcohol and/or more likely to experience suicidal thoughts or behaviors.
Alcohol is also frequently involved when there is a suicide attempt. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control reports that about one-third of people who died by suicide in 2015 had alcohol in their system at the time of their death. Though it's rarely the primary means of an attempt, being intoxicated can:
- Increase thoughts of depression
- Reduce impulse control
- Decrease the fear of dying