Alcoholism and Suicide: Menace of Suicidal Drinking

Last Updated: August 7, 2019

alcoholic man who tried to commit suicide by combining alcohol and drugs

Alcoholic beverages are a threat that has plagued the society for years with the continuous increase in alcohol brands not to mention an up-soar of social events. The unfortunate reality is that this has also proportionally increased the rate of suicide, especially in the U.S.

In America, binge drinking has taken a toll, with about 20% of U.S adults in participation. A CDC Fact Sheets on binge drinking showed that one in six Americans is a heavy drinker regardless of sex, race, ethnicity, and income.

Statistical Link Between Alcohol and Suicide

According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH), alcohol is responsible for 88,000 deaths in America annually. So what is the connection to suicide?

  • Suicide drinking is accounted for in more than a quarter deaths in the U.S
  • Suicidal alcoholics are more prevalent in a significant number of adults suffering from the psychological effects of alcohol abuse
  • Suicide rates are dominant with alcohol addicts than with non-drinkers, this is owed to how alcohol affects the brain
  • Alcohol and suicide go hand-in-hand, as one-third of suicide victims are found to have indulged in drinking just before their death.
  • 18% of alcohol addicts are lost to suicide yearly

How is Alcohol Use Related to Suicidal Risks?

Drinking inhibits logical thinking and enhances negative emotions, along with a die-hard self-impression. Social effects of alcohol abuse such as boisterous and volatile aggression are elevated without a care for consequences which can be catastrophic to health. This is followed by alcohol depression the next day, which leads to isolation and poor self-esteem with reasonably high susceptibility to alcoholism suicide.

Ethanol has a depressogenic effect coupled with morbid anxiety on long-term usage. This leads to mental disorders.

Alcoholic beverages contain varying percentages of ethanol a highly intoxicating agent which constricts cognitive abilities, and high doses defect the central nervous system, opening doors to suicide by alcohol overdose. Serotonergic dysfunction promotes alcohol suicide risks.

Effect of hormones – impulsive hormonal spikes leads to aggression and overreaction; the individual becomes susceptible to extreme provocation at the slightest action or inaction. All these emotional spikes condense into suicide by alcohol.

man who took alcohol and pills together in attempt of suicide

Risk Factors Associated with Suicide and Alcoholism

There are tons of factors that can influence alcoholism and suicide, some of them include:

Genetic Factors – Alcoholism is a genetic problem, this means that when a parent engages in extreme drinking, one or more of the offspring is likely to do the same.

Losing a loved one – this could be through separation, mortality, or divorce. Such a loss can be devastating and can lead to alcohol abuse to overcome grief.

Trauma – some suicidal alcoholic may have been through traumatic experiences that shaped their characters, such as a history of abuse, home violence, painful encounters, and other derogatory experiences that may have destroyed their self-esteem, suicide and alcohol may seem like an easy way out.

Access to firearms – it is very likely that an alcoholic with access to firearms would either go on a rampage or commit suicide, as overindulgence completely transforms human behavior, making the user irrational and aggressive.

Financial tragedy – A successful businessman who experiences a complete financial meltdown, a long-unemployed person with responsibilities, and other financially related scenarios are plausible causes for alcoholism which can lead to suicide.

Alcohol and Other Co-occurring Disorders

Co-occurring disorders and health effects of alcohol include:

Korsakoff’s syndrome – severe memory loss and disorientation, this can lead to depression and self-harm.

Schizophrenia – this long-term mental/brain disorder can lead to delusions making the victim a danger to themselves and others.

Anti-social Personality Disorder (ASPD) – victim retreats to isolation where depression can cause them to commit suicide.

Delirium Tremens – psychotic disorder related to withdrawal. It presents with anxiety, complete disorientation, and severe hallucinations at various stages of recovering from alcoholism.

Alcohol and Depression

This is a state of immersion in drinking and complete isolation from friends and loved ones. This is usually a product of traumatic experiences, and the need to expel some of the pent-up emotions. In many cases, in the U.S this leads to suicide by pills and alcohol.

Alcohol and Self-harm – Traumatic experiences might impose a feeling of worthlessness, and when doused in alcoholism, the product is usually the destruction of one’s self through some fatal means such as suicide by alcohol poisoning and others.

young drunk man lying on the edge of a rooftop in attempt to commit suiside

Immediate Danger Signs of Alcohol-Induced Suicide

Voicing out suicidal thoughts – a person who is going through life challenges may make jokes of the idea of suicide while drinking. These sorts of reasoning should not be encouraged.

History of self-harm – Suicide alcohol is the most convenient decision for an individual with a history of causing harm to themselves. This is spawned by lack of care or self-value, so such a person should be kept out of the reach of alcohol.

Risky Experiments – If an alcoholic says “I bet I can walk on that balcony railing and not fall off the building,” this is probably a preplanned alcohol-induced decision to commit suicide.

Getting Help With Alcoholism and Suicidal Thoughts

Alcoholism and suicide are inevitable when emotional pain overwhelms a person. There is a need to get emotional help immediately as suicide is a wrong and permanent solution to a temporary problem. If you find yourself burdened with emotions and depression and even contemplating suicide, there are so many suicide resources to use, such as:

  • Confide in a trusted friend – someone you love and trust can help you get over the temporary feeling of suicide.
  • Call any suicide prevention hotline
  • Use crisis text line if unable to talk
  • Make use of the suicide safety apps – these apps allow you to create a safety plan, avoid triggers, identify priority persons that you would want to reach on emergencies, and provide you with effective resources tailored to various situations.
  • Source for a mental health specialist – these professionals provide long-term help and support to meet specific needs and assist with choosing the best alcoholism treatment program and suicide prevention technique. The alcohol rehab options are not necessarily expensive – they are mostly covered by insurance.


Brian Obinna Obodeze

Brian Obodeze

Content Writer

Brian Obinna Obodeze is a professional health-niche content developer for with six years of experience as a research writer. He is an expert in medical content development, especially in the field of addictions, general health, homeopathic medicine, and pharmaceuticals.

Brian has a bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from the University of Benin and has worked as a Lab Scientist and as a public healthcare officer. His hobbies include physical fitness, reading, and social entrepreneurship.

Medical review by Dr. Gregory Okhifun

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