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Alcohol, Other Drug Use Raise Risk of Suicide

JoinTogether.com, September 19, 2006

Research Summary

Depressed individuals who also use alcohol or other drugs are more likely to attempt suicide than those who are depressed but don't drink or use illicit drugs, according to new research from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The report, "Suicidal Thoughts, Suicide Attempts, Major Depressive Episode, and Substance Use Among Adults," found that 10.4 percent of adults who suffered a major depressive event (MDE) attempted suicide, 14.5 percent made a suicide plan, 40.3 percent thought about killing themselves, and 56.3 percent thought that it would be better if they were dead.

But these rates went even higher when depression was compounded with alcohol or other drug abuse: the rate of suicide attempts, for example, rose 14 percent higher among binge drinkers, and 20 percent among those who used illicit drugs.

The report was released in conjunction with National Suicide Prevention Week (September 10-16).