Can't find something? Search Here.

Alcohol Intoxication and Suicide

Posted in Alcohol Abuse

On the list of leading causes of death in the United States, suicide ranks number ten. Recently, studies have been conducted which examined the prevalence of alcohol intoxication among suicide victims and the results reveal a significant link between drinking and the incidence of violent suicide.

The national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) examined the circumstances surrounding 44,000 suicides and found that nearly one quarter (24 percent) of male suicides were related in some way to alcohol intoxication. The figure was 17 percent among female suicides. A spokesperson for the American Association of Suicidology says that the statistics are especially troubling for young men.

Alcohol is known to lower a person’s natural inhibitions and that appears to especially be the case for young adults. Whereas suicide among older drinkers tends to be a planned event with several precursors, young adults tend to become more impulsive after drinking, and alcohol-related suicides among the young tend to be unplanned, spur-of-the-moment actions rather than pre-meditated events. In fact, less than one-half of young alcohol intoxication suicides had a history of alcohol abuse or a history of suicide attempts.

Studies which track data pertaining to violent deaths across the country reveal startlingly high rates of alcohol intoxication associated with young decedents. Though the rates of intoxication differ by state, war involvement, race, age, education, and even rural versus urban location, showed that several key averages emerged.

The most likely to die from alcohol intoxication-related suicide were 35 to 44 year old men (33 percent more likely) and 25 to 34 year old men (28 percent more likely). The prevalence of alcohol intoxication dropped sharply among men 55 years and older and the same held true for women over that age.

Alcohol intoxication as a contributing factor to suicide was shown to be significantly greater among Alaskan or American Indian populations. Male suicides in this group were 78 percent higher than white male alcohol-suicides, and female suicides in this group were an alarming 99 percent higher than those among white female decedents. Some have suggested that this is because alcohol is more readily available to the Indian populations.

Suicide is committed four times more often by men than be women and yet rates of alcohol intoxication are practically equal.

Guns are the most frequently used means of alcohol intoxication connected suicide. Statistics on violent suicide reveal that intoxicated men who commit suicide are 80 percent more likely to use a firearm than they were to choose to take poison. Women under the influence of alcohol who suffered a violent suicide were 70 percent more apt to have died by gunshot than by poison. Other violent suicides linked strongly to alcohol intoxication were suffocation and hanging.

One overarching commonality was the presence of mental health problems prior to the suicide events. Over 75 percent of the alcohol intoxication suicide decedents had demonstrated some sort of mental health issue before his/her suicide. The broad study gives plenty of basis for creating prevention strategies targeted to those most at-risk for alcohol abuse and suicide.