Occurring twice as often as murder, suicide is presently the second leading cause of death for individuals ages 10-24, and the fourth leading cause for those ages 35- 54. With the average suicide impacting, at minimum, eight other people, the imprint left on others is devastating. Those suffering from both addiction and mental health conditions are at high risk for suicide. When combined with dual diagnosis OC, suicide prevention becomes a global challenge that will require using support and resources through a multifaceted approach.
Dual Diagnosis OC
Presently, 8.8 million Americans have a dual diagnosis. Recent studies approximate that 48.5% of individuals with a substance use disorder have at least one mental disorder, and 51% of those with a mental health disorder have at least one substance use disorder. Self-medicating is one of the driving forces behind dual diagnosis and includes the abuse of the medication designed to treat mental health symptoms. As a result, professionals use methods that include providing non-addictive medications or choosing to stop medications completely. Therapies are used to address the urge to use medication compulsively, and support groups become alternatives to self-medicating.
The key to treating dual disorders and addiction is integrated care – treating both conditions at the same time, in a way that acknowledges the effect that each condition has on the other. The most recent studies have concluded that dual diagnosis treatment of both disorders simultaneously, through a single approach, is infinitely more effective than previous approaches.
Suicide is complex to explain and arduous to understand. Suicide does not discriminate and impacts individuals of all ages, genders, and ethnicities. More than 90% of people who fall victim to suicide suffer a mental health disorder have a substance abuse disorder or both. Many who experience mental health disorders frequently turn to drugs, alcohol, gambling, and other risky behaviors to numb their pain and alleviate negative feelings. Individuals with a diagnosis of depression are at 20x greater risk than those without. Additionally, those individuals diagnosed with a substance use disorder are 6.5x more likely to fall victim to suicide. Some of the risk factors of suicide include:
- Depression or substance abuse disorders
- Certain medical conditions
- Chronic pain
- Family history of a mental disorder or substance abuse
- Suicide contagion
Many people have some of these risk factors but do not attempt suicide. It is important to note that suicidal ideations and behaviors are not normal responses to stress. Suicidal ideations or actions are signs of extreme distress and should not be ignored.
Warning signs of suicide include:
- A desire for death
- Reckless behavior
- Drug and/or alcohol use/addiction
- Decrease in productivity
- Suicidal ideations/behaviors
If at any time, someone you know demonstrates these behaviors, it is essential that you act as a dependable system of support. The five steps listed below should be followed when helping someone in emotional pain:
- Ask: “Are you thinking of killing yourself? Although it can be a difficult conversation to have, it is necessary to determine the mindset of the individual who may be at risk for suicide.
- Keep them safe: Reducing a suicidal person’s access to highly lethal items or places.
- Be there: Listen carefully to what the individual is thinking and feeling.
- Help them connect: Save the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255).
- Stay connected: Staying in touch after a crisis or after being discharged from care.
Seeking Treatment With Dual Diagnosis OC
When seeking treatment, there are two proven psychotherapies for treating those who attempt suicide: cognitive behavior therapy for suicide attempters and dialectical behavioral therapy for patients with recurrent suicidal ideation and behaviors. Additionally, some individuals at risk for suicide might benefit from medication. Doctors and patients can work together to find the best medication or treatment options. Because many individuals at risk for suicide often have a mental illness and substance use problems, individuals might benefit from medication along with psychosocial intervention.
This year, National Suicide Prevention Week will take place from September 6th– September 12th. This annual initiative aims to draw attention to the issue of suicide in the United States, as well as encourage the pursuit of mental health support for those at risk for suicide. Running concurrently with World Suicide Prevention Day, which is held September 10th, this campaign conducts depression screenings and provides additional resources to interested individuals. To learn more, visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/.
Get Help Today at Ocean Hills Recovery
Suicide is complex and difficult for many to understand. However, with the necessary support and treatment, any individual can overcome their addiction. Additionally, for those facing this struggle, Ocean Hills Recovery is here to help. Although the journey is not an easy one, at Ocean Hills Recovery is equipped to help someone with a dual diagnosis. We provide a relaxing, family-friendly environment where you can take your life back.
Start your recovery by contacting us today.
Sources: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/suicide.shtml  https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/suicide  https://www.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/drugfacts-comorbidity.pdf  https://www.nami.org/mhstats  https://www.sprc.org/sites/default/files/migrate/library/RiskProtectiveFactorsPrimer.pdf  https://afsp.org/treatment
About the author:
Nicole earned her doctoral degree in Psychology with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy at California School of Professional Psychology. Her doctoral thesis was a grounded theory study exploring the role of alienation and connectedness in the life course of addiction. She specializes in treating addiction and trauma. She is certified in DBT and EMDR, two of the most highly regarded evidence-based methods in psychotherapy. Dr. Doss is a strong LGBT advocate and provides open and affirming support to her LGBT clients.
Dr. Doss’s earlier education included graduating cum laude from the University of California, Irvine in June of 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While there, she received honors recognition by Psi Chi and Golden Key honor societies.
Nicole has been working with alcoholics and addicts in our California drug and alcohol rehab center as an advisor and counselor for many years. She is passionate about providing quality counseling and care to her clients. Her main focus is on integrating the 12 Step and disease models of addiction with experiential therapeutic theory. She is married to Greg; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.