Suicide risk associated with drug and alcohol addiction
Norman S. Miller, MD
A. James Giannini, MDAddress reprint requests to A.J.G., P.O. Box 2169, Youngstown, OH 44504.
Mark S. Gold, MD
The association of alcohol and drugs with suicidal thinking and behavior is both causal and conducive. The subjective state of hopelessness is key to the disposition to actual suicide. Alcohol and drugs are influential in providing a feeling of hopelessness by their toxic effects, by disruption of interpersonal relationships and social supports, and, possibly, by manipulating neurotransmitters responsible for mood and judgment. Because alcoholism and drug addiction are leading risk factors for suicide and suicidal behavior, any alcoholic or drug addict should be assessed for suicide, especially if actively using alcohol or drugs.