Addiction A-Z

Suicide

Called “self-inflicted death” by the Journal of the American Medical Association, suicide accounted for more than 41,000 deaths in the U.S. in 2013 and was the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. and worldwide. As reported in the government’s 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 8.3 million U.S. adults in 2008 had serious thoughts about suicide. Rates of suicide are higher among young adults 15 to 24 years old and in individuals with substance abuse problems.

Warning signs of suicide include:

  • Talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself
  • Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, pills or other means
  • Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities – seemingly without thinking
  • Feeling trapped – like there’s no way out
  • Increasing alcohol or drug use
  • Withdrawing from friends, family and society
  • Feeling anxious, agitated, unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
  • Experiencing dramatic mood changes
  • Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life

Facts about suicide

  • Suicidal thinking is often rooted in mental or emotional issues that can be treated
  • If you are unable to think of solutions other than suicide, it is not that solutions don’t exist, only that you are currently unable to see them
  • Suicidal crises are almost always temporary
  • Problems are seldom as great as they appear at first glance
  • Resources for living can help sustain a person in pain

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers a free, 24-hour hotline at 800-273-TALK (8255). The lifeline provides counseling assistance to individuals in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Additional suicide prevention resources are available at SAMHSA.

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