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Substance Abuse and Depression: A Lethal Combination

May 24, 2017 5:00:00 AM

Depression, Substance Abuse & Suicide

On Wednesday, May 17, 2017, the day the world lost talented musician Chris Cornell to suicide, the National Institutes of Health issued a news release:Study finds tens of millions of Americans drink alcohol at dangerously high levels”.  Researchers from the NIAAA Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research analyzed data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC), a national survey conducted in 2001-2002 and 2012-2013. The surveys examined subjects' alcohol use within the previous year, and its co-occurrence with drug use and psychiatric conditions. The results of the survey? Adults in America are engaging in extreme binge drinking now more than they were ten years prior. Find the research abstract, as well as the journal article, here.


substance abuse and depression

Binge Drinking Defined

For a woman, binge drinking is defined as having more than four drinks on one occasion. A man who drinks more than five alcoholic drinks on one occasion is considered to have binged. Binge drinking can produce blood alcohol levels of 0.08 percent, the legal driving limit in the U.S., and puts drinkers at risk for adverse events, including illness, injury, and death.

Risk Factors for Suicide

Historically, Chris Cornell talked openly about his battle with depression and addiction. When substance abuse and depression are both present, the outcome can be fatal. According to the Center for Disease Control, risk factors for suicide include a history of mental disorders, particularly clinical depression, and a history of alcohol and substance abuse. Click here for the CDC's list of risk factors and protective factors for suicide.

substance abuse and depression

Talk to Someone About This

If you are questioning at all whether your drinking or drug use is causing your depression, or worsening your depressive symptoms, please tell someone you trust - a family member, a friend, a therapist, or your doctor. You CAN find help. Below are links to resources you may find helpful:

National Suicide Prevention Hotline

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Alcoholics Anonymous

National Institute on Drug Abuse

Narcotics Anonymous

For more information on how we can help you, contact us here.

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