According to World Health Organization (WHO) 2014, the suicide rate in Canada was 11.4 per 100,000 in 2012. Alcohol has been involved in over a quarter of all suicide cases. Alcoholics are 120 times more likely to attempt suicide compared to non-alcoholics. Men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women. Men aged 40-59 years have the highest rates according to Statistics Canada, 2012.
Alcohol increases impulsivity and decreases inhibition. It disrupts the brain’s delicate balance of chemicals and processes, thus, deepening depression for those who drink heavily on a regular basis or binge drink. Depression and the use of alcohol can become a vicious cycle. People drink to numb the problem, then they feel more depressed, and want to drink more. Alcohol slows down the brain, inhibiting a person’s reasoning power. It lowers their concerns for future consequences. As such, it is a major factor in suicide rates. Alcohol has been found in the bodies of many who died by suicide.
Some top reasons that people choose to drink alcohol are personal loss, such as divorce, separation, death, unemployment or financial loss, legal and criminal problems, family history of alcoholism, abuse and trauma. Most of these die by suicide.
Since alcoholism is the most common factor involved with suicide it is safe to say that a large number of suicides can be prevented by treating alcoholism. (Quit Alcohol, 2016). Despite the high rate of suicide, most people are not comfortable talking about it. It is considered a taboo or a sign of weakness. People fear being judged and criticized for being weak and unable to deal with their problems. What people need is empathy and understanding, not judgment and criticism. A Counsellor or Psychotherapist, with years of experience, sound wisdom and
knowledge in the field can provide a professional perspective on problems. At the same time, he or she is able to provide genuine care, empathy and understanding. The professional guides clients through their problems and helps them to lower their anxiety.
If you think you or a loved one is dealing with issues related to alcoholism and could use professional help, call Helen Northcott at 905-325-7077 or visit the website www.choosealifestyle.ca.
Drinkaware. (2017, Aug 18). Retrieved from Alcohol and Suicidal Thoughts: https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/alcohol-facts/health-effects-of-alcohol/mental-health/alcohol-and-suicidal-thoughts/
MCES Building Better Tomorrow. (n.d.). Retrieved from Facts About Alcohol & Suicide: http://www.mces.org/pages/suicide_fact_alcohol.php
McQuaid, R. J. (2017, March 09). Canadian Substance on Substance Abuse. Retrieved from Substance Use and Suicide among Youth: Prevention and Intervention Strategies: https://www.mentalhealthcommission.ca/sites/default/files/2017-04/suicide_prevention_webinar_march_2017_eng.pdf
Quit Alcohol. (2016, July 16). Retrieved from Alcohol and Suicide – An Unfortunate Relationship: https://www.quitalcohol.com/alcohol-abuse/alcohol-and-suicide.html