Suicide Attempts: How Does the Acute Use of Alcohol Affect Suicide Intent?

Nov 18 2021

alcohol poisoning suicide

Figure 1 indicates the impact of alcohol abuse and misuse on suicide risk and the importance of the detection and treatment of alcohol use disorders for suicide prevention. Therefore, suicide prevention should focus on the diagnosis and treatment of alcoholism [63] and other substance-related disorders. In view of the strong link between alcoholism and suicide, there is a clear need to provide public health education regarding sensible drinking. The well-established heritability of alcohol consumption and the interaction of genes with social and environmental factors [274] should also be taken into account when dealing with alcohol use as related to suicidal behavior. Failure to identify specific alcohol-related disorders can delay the initiation of readily available therapies and increase the morbidity and mortality of patients.

  1. Like alcohol, these drugs suppress areas in the brain that control vital functions such as breathing.
  2. The well-established heritability of alcohol consumption and the interaction of genes with social and environmental factors [274] should also be taken into account when dealing with alcohol use as related to suicidal behavior.
  3. Toxicological examinations found that pesticides were involved in 84.2% of the cases, followed by opiates (6.8%), methamphetamines (2.74%), ethanol (1.3%), strychnine (1.3%), and minor drugs.

Drinking and suicide: How alcohol use increases risks, and what can be done about it

alcohol poisoning suicide

The data of the selected studies are coherent with literature data and highlight that the characteristics of suicide by consuming poison show changing trends according to social and demographic factors [52,61]. Autopsy and toxicological analysis in suicide deaths are crucial for assessing the cause and manner of death and shed light on death by self-poisoning. When performing an autopsy in the case of suspected suicides, it is crucial to analyze social factors and medical history to pinpoint a suicide by self-poisoning and provide helpful information for prevention and public health measures. In this regard, the results of the present study lack significant information about sociodemographic factors. Increases in alcohol-induced death rates began more recently (in 2005) than drug poisoning deaths and suicides and accelerated during 2012 to 2017.

Alcohol-Related Deaths: What to Know

It is important to note that suicide is not something that gives blame or points fingers, it is powerful and greedy and takes ruthlessly. However, it is equally imperative to seek help immediately if you notice changes in mood or signs of suicidal thoughts in yourself or a loved one. Those feelings may be indescribably heavy and suffocating, but finding a professional to work scared of being sober through that darkness might be the beginning of a brand new life. 29% of suicide victims in America were found with alcohol in their system. People who suffer from alcoholism are up to 120 times more likely to take their own life than those who are not dependent on alcohol. Culturally, it is considered taboo and often the language we use is both polarizing and stigmatized.

Other Substances, Multiple Substance Use, and Suicide

The more you drink, especially in a short period of time, the greater your risk of alcohol poisoning. This is when a male rapidly consumes five or more alcoholic drinks within two hours or a female consumes at least four drinks within two hours. The researchers say these findings suggest that alcohol use may have been a core driver in the accelerated increase in suicide among U.S. women. Although more research is needed to elucidate the link between alcohol use and suicide, the findings point to a need for more education and awareness of this relationship, as well as improved screening and intervention strategies. Cases of death by suicide depending on the state of consciousness have been listed in the statistics since 2017 (Table 4).

Materials and methods

In clinical contexts, patients often avoid mentioning their suicidal ideation, but they are more willing to discuss it if the doctor asks specific questions about their suicidal intentions. Therefore, giving information and training to general practitioners and nurses may have an enormous impact on how the patients at risk are evaluated and managed. This may be useful also for teachers, parents, relatives and all those who come into contact on a regular basis with at-risk individuals. Thus, the relationship between alcohol abuse and depression in determining suicidality is complex and multifaced, and there are many factors which may impact on suicidality in depressed patients. Thus, alcohol abuse may affect the risk for suicide in schizophrenia, but several factors may be critically involved in this association. Velleman and Templeton [221] described the impact of parental substance use disorder on adolescents and young adults.

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For example, alcohol exacerbates the symptoms of many mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, and depression, all of which can contribute to suicide. Stigma, particularly surrounding mental disorders and suicide, means many people thinking of taking their own life or who have attempted suicide are not seeking help and are therefore not getting the help they need. The prevention of suicide has not been adequately addressed due to a lack of awareness of suicide as a major public health problem and the taboo in many societies to openly discuss it. To date, only a few countries have included suicide prevention among their health priorities and only 38 countries report having a national suicide prevention strategy.

Distribution of deaths by unintentional illicit drug overdose in Italy based on periodicity over time, 1984-2000

In fact, according to the World Health Organization, alcohol-related deaths total around 3 million each year globally. Emotional reactions in survivors differ, with spouses and parents significantly more affected than adult children [224]. Parents showed more sorrow, depression, feeling of powerlessness and guilt, while spouses felt more abandoned and angry [224]. Their anger is directed to the lost person significantly more than that of spouses whose suicidal partner had no alcohol problems [225]. Alcoholism in any close relationship causes tension and conflicts and complicates bereavement. Post-mortem investigations have revealed that alcohol was in the blood of 45% of Swedish [101], 36–40% in Finnish [102,103], 35–48% of Estonian [104]; 28–29% of American [105,106] and 20% of Dutch [107] suicide victims.

It is possible that when one decides to commit suicide, he/she may select one of the options available to make the act more socially and personally acceptable, and one of these may be alcohol. In doing so, the person communicates to others and adapts to his/her environment. The results of research do not support the hypothesis that, when a youth gets drunk, this in itself leads to that youth deciding are common toads poisonous to humans to commit suicide. Translated, this mean that one out of four youths regularly engages in binges and that about the same proportion has started taking alcohol early in their life when their brain is still maturating. Among people with depression, those who consumed substances or alcohol have a higher probability of attempting suicide as compared with depressed individuals who did not [201].

alcohol poisoning suicide

Altered glutamatergic receptors in the brains of people who died from suicide comprise reduced NMDA receptors [170] and increased caudate metabotropic receptors [171]. Notably, GABAA receptors were reduced [172–174], but the subunit compositions only partly overlap with those found in suicides. Data rehab for women on the number of suicides per year are provided by the General Police Headquarters of Poland (the GPHP) and the Statistics Poland (GUS). The GPHP base their analysis on the KSIP-10 report on suicide attempt/behavior. It is not necessary to introduce the social security number of a victim there.

Therefore, persons in this patient population have a higher risk of suicidal behavior compared with younger individuals (9). This cross-sectional study found alarming recent increases in drug poisoning, suicide, and alcohol-induced death rates that differed substantially by demographic and geographic factors in the US. In almost all industrialized countries, the highest suicide rate is found among men aged 75 years and older [207]. Whereas suicidal behavior in youngsters is often impulsive and communicative, in older people it is often long-planned and involves highly lethal methods. Its lethality increases also as a result of the structural frailty and loneliness that are often present in the elderly.

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