The suicide risk of alcoholics increases with age

Drinking alcohol is associated with many suicides and suicide attempts. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the diagnosis of alcohol abuse or dependence is associated with suicide risk, which is 10 times that of the general population.

Among patients receiving medical treatment after suicide attempt, alcohol use disorder was found to be an important factor, with acute alcoholism in approximately 30% to 40% of cases.

There is now evidence that the suicide risk of alcoholics also increases with age. Compared with younger peers, middle-aged and elderly people with alcohol use disorder have a much higher risk of suicide.

This may prove to be an important factor for baby boomers, many of whom have drug abuse problems when they start to reach retirement age.

Increased risk of suicide

Statistics are published in Alcoholism: clinical and experimental research. The lead author, Kenneth R. Conner, an assistant professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center, points out: “This is the first study of a sample of adults in different age ranges. The study clearly focuses on increasing suicides. Risk and medically serious factors for the risk of suicide attempt. It is related to alcohol dependence.”

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For research purposes, a medically serious suicide attempt is defined as a suicide attempt that requires hospitalization for up to 24 hours. It also needs to meet another criterion describing the type of treatment received.

Conner said: “The data was collected from medically serious suicide attempts because they are a subgroup of suicide attempters who engage in particularly dangerous behaviors, indicating that they have a high intention to die.” Even if not the first time. Success, he also pointed out that the risk of death in subsequent attempts is higher.

Age-related patterns

Generally speaking, adolescents and young people have the highest risk of suicide attempts worldwide. However, most of these attempts will not lead to death. In contrast, although the frequency of attempts may be lower, men over 65 are at the greatest risk of completing suicide.

For researchers, this reinforces the view that age and suicide have different patterns. This finding is supported by a study later in 2017 that found an increase in suicide attempts by elderly people with and without substance use problems.The worrying fact is that the compound life experience of elderly alcoholics is different from that of their younger peers.

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Grouping all ages into one group is not an accurate way to measure the suicide risk of alcoholics or non-alcoholics.

Serious medical suicide attempt

Researchers in Rochester examined the data collected by Annette L. Beautrais and colleagues for the Canterbury suicide project. This is a case-control study of suicide, medically serious suicide attempts, and comparison subjects randomly selected from the Canterbury region of New Zealand.

All subjects in the study were over 18 years old: 193 people (149 males, 44 females) died as a result of suicide; 240 people (114 males, 126 females) had medically serious suicide attempts; And 984 (476 males, 508 females) are the control. The researchers compared demographic and diagnostic variables.

Increased vulnerability of the elderly

It turns out that there is indeed a link between alcohol dependence and suicide, which increases with age.Increasing age also magnifies the link between mood disorders and suicide. Overall, researchers in this field continue to study the association between age, alcohol use disorder, and suicide.

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In addition to these factors, many experts point out that mood disorders such as depression must also be considered because they also make older people more vulnerable.

It is believed that elderly people with alcohol use disorder are at higher risk of suicide because their addiction has caused emotional and physical losses over the years. The results of these studies warn that anyone dealing with alcoholism—their own or loved ones—should be aware of the warning signs of suicidal ideation and be prepared to seek help.