Don’t Respond to Suicidal Thoughts with Drugs or Alcohol

Don't Respond to Suicidal Thoughts with Drugs or Alcohol | Transcend Recovery Community

It’s easy to do. If you’re experiencing thoughts that are harmful, destructive, and even painful, it’s easy to want to get rid of them. It may even feel necessary to want to push them away. Thoughts can be difficult to experience because often they come with a history of the same pattern. They come with accompanying feelings that are challenging, and those thoughts continue to feel true. There’s something about thoughts that pull us into believing in them.

However, over time, with certain therapeutic practices, it’s possible to become aware of your thoughts to the point where you don’t believe in them anymore. It’s possible to simply recognize that they are there without buying into the whole story. Often, those destructive painful thoughts come with a story, a long history of events that makes each and every one of those thoughts believable. Having practices that support your ability to become more and more aware of your own thinking can free you from being a prisoner of them.

Without this, it’s common to turn to drugs and alcohol when a painful thought arises. One thought that can easily drive drinking and drug use is a suicidal one. When thoughts begin to include the topic of dying, death, or taking one’s life, there’s frequently a need to escape them. It’s incredibly challenging to have to live with the thoughts of death. On the one hand, you’re suffering and so the thought of death may feel freeing and may feel like a final release to all the pain you’ve been through. On the other hand, there may be a part of you that wants to live, that wants to not have to say goodbye to friends or family. There may be a part of you that doesn’t want to dismiss the potential that lies in the life ahead. So, there’s a great inner struggle. There’s may be great inner turmoil.

When death is present in thoughts, there may be more of a pull to drink and use drugs. There may be more of a need to go to the bar, have a beer, and feel the buzz of alcohol or the high of using drugs. Sometimes, not feeling good on the inside can lead to finding ways to quickly feel better. There may even be an urgency about removing the pain and burden of your thoughts.

However, the most dangerous result of drinking and/or drugging is the spontaneous decision to take your life. There’s a saying in the mental health field that goes like this: suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Although the pain and suffering may feel like permanent and like it’s never going to end. Although the inner struggle might feel incredibly intense, there are other solutions. There are ways to heal the inner experience so that you don’t have to reach for drugs and alcohol. It might be challenging at first, but one way to heal on the inside, instead of trying to push the pain away is to talk to someone. You can start by calling someone you trust – a friend or family member. You can begin by talking to one person, even if it’s a stranger, such as a mental health professional or a doctor, about what you’re going through.

Depression, which is frequently the mental illness behind suicidal thoughts, is entirely treatable! Therapy used with psychotropic medication is known as evidenced based method of treating depression and preventing suicide. Treatment that is considered to be evidence based for depression includes the use of antidepressant medication and/or therapy. Antidepressant medication includes selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, also known as SSRI’s, which increase the levels of serotonin. Raising serotonin levels can ease depressive symptoms with fewer side effects than other anti-depressants. These types of medication along with therapy such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy, and the mindfulness-oriented therapy known as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) are widely used to treat depression, prevent suicide, and end the cycle of addiction.


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