Does Alcoholism Lead to Increased Suicidal Thoughts?
A lifelong struggle with anxiety and depression as well as alcohol and drug abuse likely contributed to Robin Williams’ taking his own life. His struggle highlights how difficult it can be to live with both of these disorders – and the fact that the number of suicides among Americans between the ages of 45 and 64 has been rising in recent years, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Depression alone can cause suicidal thoughts and behaviors; when compounded by drug use, especially alcoholism, the symptoms worsen considerably. The New York Times reports that Williams had recently left a treatment program for depression in addition to struggling with substance abuse early in his career and seeking treatment for alcohol abuse in 2006.
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Williams was far from alone in his struggle. Jill Harkavy-Friedman is the Vice President of Research at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. According to her, the rate of suicide among middle-aged Americans is higher than any other age group.
Says Harkavy-Friedman: “We don’t hear about middle-age or older people who kill themselves unless they’re a star like Robin Williams. Because it’s so shocking when a younger person dies, there’s a tendency of re-reporting and romanticizing.”
Why would someone established in his life, his marriage, and his career feel that suicide makes sense? Each person’s answer is different. But for many Americans, reasons can include any one or combination of the following:
- Health problems
- Dissatisfaction with work life or home life
- Feeling as if time has run out and life goals won’t be accomplished
- Financial problems
- More medications and more abuse of addictive medications
- Feeling alone
For some, it can feel as if their chance to make changes has already passed. Others feel that they are unable to bear the weight of the depression any longer and give into the suicidal behavior that they’ve have been contemplating for years.
A Glimmer of Hope
There is no magic pill to cure depression anymore than there’s a cure for addiction; however, both are highly treatable disorders. With time, persistence, and ongoing support, treatment that addresses both issues simultaneously can help patients to find the hope they’ve lost and give them the tools they need to manage the symptoms of both disorders, building a life defined by balance and stability.
Learn more about the options available to your loved one in dual diagnosis treatment here at The Recovery Village. Call now.
Nothing is more important than health and well being. If you or someone you care for needs treatment for alcohol dependency, please contact us. We’re here to help!
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