The Cycle of Depression, Substance Abuse, and Suicide
Research suggests that at least 50% of suicides are related to depressive and other mood disorders. At the beginning of the 2000s, the leading causes of unnatural death worldwide were depression (30%) followed by substance use disorders (18%).4 Inversely, research has also found that 15% of people with depression, 15% of people with alcohol addiction, and 10% of people with opiate addiction will likely die by suicide.5
These numbers are not altogether surprising, considering the toxic and cyclical relationship between mood disorders, substance use disorders, and suicide. Someone experiencing a mood disorder, like depression, may find themselves struggling to cope with their overwhelming feelings of sadness, emptiness, loss of enjoyment, and fatigue.
Substances like alcohol, cocaine, amphetamines, and marijuana may be seen as methods to temporarily transport people to a more enjoyable and, at times, euphoric state. This solution, however, is short-lived. With extended use, many substances elicit depressive symptoms aside from pre-existing mental conditions, which can make the original depression harder to treat.