Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Suicide Alcohol Abuse Link

A recent report in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) confirmed what many of us in the substance abuse field have long seen, the connection and link between suicide and alcohol abuse. Here at Cottonwood we see many patients who have made suicide attempts, sometimes multiple attempts, in states of intoxication but who never struggle with suicidality when sober. The report does not touch on non successful suicide attempters but indicates that 24% of those who die from suicide showed evidence of alcohol intoxication.

It is not surprising to me that the CDC was able to clearly establish a link. The rates are lower than I expected , though they were higher than the CDC researchers expected. One important finding was that alcohol involvement was a factor across all populations and age groups. It highlights the need for all suicide prevention programs and all mental health centers to address substance abuse problems as a major part of treatment. Unfortunately this is not usually done to to funding issues and historical precedent. I am very happy that I work at a facility that takes both mental health problems and substance abuse problems as truly co-occurring.

Thought for the day

We cannot address mental health problems without addressing the substance abuse problems that are highly prevalent and co occurring.

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