In studies that examine risk factors among people who have completed suicide, substance use and abuse occurs more frequently among youth and adults, compared to older persons. For particular groups at risk, such as American Indians and Alaskan Natives, depression and alcohol use and abuse are the most common risk factors for completed suicide. Alcohol and substance abuse problems contribute to suicidal behavior in several ways. Persons who are dependent on substances often have a number of other risk factors for suicide. In addition to being depressed, they are also likely to have social and financial problems. Substance use and abuse can be common among persons prone to be impulsive, and among persons who engage in many types of high risk behaviors that result in self-harm. Fortunately, there are a number of effective prevention efforts that reduce risk for substance abuse in youth, and there are effective treatments for alcohol and substance use problems. Researchers are currently testing treatments specifically for persons with substance abuse problems who are also suicidal, or have attempted suicide in the past.
The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) in 2002 reported the following:
- In 2000, approximately 3 million youths were at risk for suicide during the past year
- Youths who reported past year alcohol or illicit drug use were more likely than youths who did not use these substances to be at risk for suicide
- Only 36 percent of youths at risk for suicide during the past year received mental health treatment or counseling
Suicides among young people nationwide increased dramatically in recent years. Each year in the United States, thousands of teenagers commit suicide. Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for 15-to- 24-year-olds, and the sixth-leading cause of death for 5-to-14-year- olds. More than 50 percent of teens who commit suicide have a history of alcohol and drug use. That’ why young adult drug rehab is so important.
In many cases, it’s important that an alcohol and drug treatment or drug rehab focus on depression or thoughts of suicide along with the recovery from drug or alcohol abuse.