Addiction and Suicide: What’s the Connection?

addiction and suicide

The distinct connection between addiction and suicide is among the most vital topics of discussion throughout September’s suicide awareness month. Rightfully so, considering the reports that suggest nearly 60% of all suicides are related to alcohol and substance addiction.

While every day is important to raise awareness for suicide prevention, it’s especially vital to ramp up those efforts this month. At Laguna Shores Recovery, our rehab center in Orange County, CA, addresses the important things you need to know about suicide prevention month the link between addiction and suicide, and the treatments available. 

How Does Addiction Lead to Suicide?

Substance use and addiction are a slippery slope that can ultimately lead to fatal consequences in numerous ways. However, you’ll find a common theme between people who develop an addiction and those who commit suicide. Both of which occur for many of the same foundational reasons. Here are a few of the ways addiction leads to suicide.


Addiction is often a manifestation of someone seeking to escape a discouraging reality. Therefore, depression is not only the leading cause of addiction. It’s also the number one reason people commit suicide. Ultimately, depression, addiction, and suicide often function cohesively, exacerbating one another. That is to say, depression leads to addiction, which then leads to deeper depression and suicidal tendencies.

Obscured Thought Processes

Thinking level-headed requires clarity of thought. Substance use and addiction cloud our better judgment. This is dangerous for many reasons, including posing a high risk of worsening suicidal tendencies. To put it in perspective, several sources cite an over 50% increase in suicidal thoughts when indulging in alcohol or drugs. Even worse, the same source cites a roughly 75% greater likelihood of suicidal actions when opioids and other drugs are involved. These are actions that would not have otherwise been carried out without the mentally clouding effects of alcohol or drugs


This is the most dangerous correlation between addiction and suicide. When substances are a person’s primary source of happiness, suicidal tendencies can coincide with addiction most dangerously. This can lead someone to take their life by the very substance they have become dependent upon. Intentional or unintentional, drug overdose-based suicides are on a steep rise recently with a nearly 18-percent increase in 2021.


This is the most dangerous correlation between addiction and suicide. When substances are a person’s primary source of happiness, suicidal tendencies can coincide with addiction most dangerously. This can lead someone to take their life by the very substance they have become dependent upon. Intentional or unintentional, drug overdose-based suicides are on a steep rise recently with a nearly 18-percent increase in 2021.

What are Potential Warning Signs of Suicidal Behavior?

Many cases of suicides can be prevented by knowing and heeding the warning signs. Unfortunately, suicides come as a shock to most loved ones because they are unaware of those warning signs. Here are some of those behavioral indicators of suicidal tendencies to keep a watchful eye on.

Emotional Instability

Lack of emotional stability can manifest itself in many ways. For some, this can be interpreted as sudden mood swings similar to bipolar disorder. For others, this can mean remaining in a permanently sad or emotionally fragile state of mind. Any indication of emotional instability should be met with sympathetic understanding and extreme caution. Most importantly, don’t ignore any emotional indicators of someone who could be secretly harboring suicidal thoughts.

Spending Too Much Time Alone

People who entertain suicidal thoughts often spend too much time alone when they need to be around loved ones. They will often avoid social interaction with loved ones, even distancing themselves from the people they care about most. It’s vital to take the time to reach out to a loved one who withdraws themselves from social activity. It may be a silent cry for help.

Lack of Motivation or Desire

Anybody exhibiting a lack of desire or motivation for anything in life may be suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts. This will manifest itself in having little desire to do anything, including activities most people would otherwise enjoy. Heed the warning signs and used personal discretion to seek help on behalf of anybody exhibiting this type of behavior.

An Abnormal Curiosity or Infatuation with Death

Take note of anybody who talks about the afterlife or death in an unnaturally curious manner. This will manifest itself in a way that magnifies death or their idea of the afterlife over life itself. Not only is an infatuation of death a red flag for potential self-harm. It is a dangerous indication that they could be a danger to those around them.

Excessive Anxiety

People who exhibit excessive anxiety often do so without any reasonable cause. This is a reflection of being dissatisfied with their quality of life, regardless of their positive circumstances. Especially in the case of substance-induced anxiety, high-stress levels influence people to do the unthinkable, including taking their lives. Enrolling in stress management therapy can not only help treat anxiety, it can spare someone from a terrible self-harming fate.

What Should You Do If You Suspect Suicidal Tendencies in a Loved One?

For anybody with suicidal tendencies, every moment matters and so do your actions in those moments. Don’t hesitate to act upon one or more of the following actions if you suspect a loved one may be suicidal.

Spend More Time with Them

The more time someone with suicidal tendencies spends alone, the more at risk they are for committing such an act. That means, as a loved one, make a point to spend more time with them. Every moment you can spend keeping them from the danger of their thoughts is a win in favor of life. You may not know it, but the time you take to spend with a loved one may be a life-saving act they’ll never forget.

Get Professional Help

People who are entertaining suicidal tendencies often won’t seek help on their own. At your discretion, make an effort to reach out to the appropriate professionals to get a loved one the help they need. Depending on the circumstance, a staged family intervention may be an appropriate action. Even if they don’t thank you immediately, they will in the long run.

Be Their Vent

One of the most effective ways to avert suicidal actions is to listen. Many people who are suicidal keep their emotions bottled up until it boils to a fatal end. Sometimes all it takes is somebody to express a desire to listen to their struggles and help them open up vocally. Let them know you are there to listen to their addiction or depression struggles without judgment. Sometimes the greatest remedy to suicidal thoughts is having an emotional vent to help you through.

Let Them Know You Care

Though this can go hand-in-hand with being a vent, it’s important to express to the potentially suicidal individual that you care. Extending a caring hand could reassure them and hope they need to get through the day. Though you may never truly know the impact you’re having, a kind word and a caring thought go a long way for anybody struggling with suicidal tendencies.

What are the Treatment Options Available for Addiction and Suicidal Tendencies?

addiction and suicide

Since addiction and suicide often go hand-in-hand, finding the most personalized therapy to help you combat both is a must. That means getting the most accurate treatment assessment to guide you to the best options for you. Depending on your assessment, you’ll be placed in any of the following programs designed to treat both addiction and suicidal thoughts.

Dual-Diagnosis Treatment

Upon further evaluation, doctors may find that your suicidal thoughts and addiction stem from mental health problems. That means you possess multiple disorders that require a different approach to properly recover. If this is the case for you it does not mean recovery is any less achievable. It only means you require dual-diagnosis treatment to ensure your recovery is the most effective and sustainable beyond rehab.

Medical Detox Programs

Substance dependency is a known accelerant of depression and suicidal thoughts. Attempting to stop substances on your own only magnifies depression and suicidal tendencies with unbearable withdrawal symptoms. That’s why anybody with a professionally assessed substance use disorder will likely be recommended to start with medical detox.

Inpatient Care

A residential care facility provides all the personal attention, therapy tools, and doctor accessibility you need at every recovery phase. This helps your doctors personalize your treatment in the most effective ways. It also enables your doctor and therapists to closely monitor your recovery progress, medications, and reactions to specific treatments.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

CBT for substance abuse is a very personalized therapy that focuses on achieving short-term goals to accomplish the bigger picture. CBT focuses on identifying negative thought patterns directly related to depression, anxiety, and addictive behaviors. Once identified, doctors implement a scientifically proven process that allows doctors to help you retrain how you process information and emotions tied to your addiction and mental health conditions.

Laguna Shores Recovery Has  Everything You Need to Rise Above Your Struggles

Top-quality treatment, the greatest therapists, and a breath-taking element are the most intricate circumstances to help you thrive in rehab. All these factors and more are found at Laguna Shores Recovery.

You stand the best chance in your fight against addiction and suicide by reaching out to a compassionate representative at our facility. You’ll have every relapse prevention and mental fortifying tool you need to sustain your sobriety and reinforce your mental fortitude. We’re eager to show you a new way of life that will open the floodgates to joys you never knew before.