Alcohol or Drug Addiction and Suicide

What is a substance addiction?

A person has a substance addiction (substance use disorder) when they continue to use a substance even though it leads to problems in their relationships, work life, studies, finances, and so on.

Which substances can lead to addiction?

  • Alcohol
  • Cannabis (pot, marijuana, etc.)
  • Hallucinogens (ketamine, GHB, LSD, ecstasy, etc.)
  • Stimulants (cocaine, speed, crystal meth, crack, Ritalin, Concerta, etc.)
  • Inhalants (glue, gas, paint, etc.)
  • Caffeine
  • Tobacco
  • Opiates (heroine, morphine, fentanyl, Dilaudid, oxycodone, etc.)
  • Sedatives (anxiolytics, hypnotics, etc.)

How to recognize addiction

  • The person uses the substance to cope with physical, emotional, or social difficulties.
  • They neglect important activities and people (family, friends, school, sports, or social commitments).
  • They engage in risky behaviour (e.g., impaired driving, unprotected sex, using dirty needles).
  • They have relationship problems (conflicts with loved ones or loss of friends).
  • They develop a physical tolerance (they need to use more to get the same effect).
  • They have withdrawal symptoms when they don’t use the substance.
  • They lose control over their use of the substance (dependence and inability to stop).

What are the consequences of addiction?

Substance addiction can lead to all sorts of problems. Consequences can include:

  • Physical: Nausea, physical pain, sleep problems, weight gain or loss, infections, accidents, and chronic illness.
  • Personal: Conflicts with loved ones, breakups, and loss of friends.
  • Personal or financial: Job loss, conflicts at work or school, debt, and unemployment.
  • Social: Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed, reduced participation in social activities, disciplinary issues, and isolation.
  • Psychological: Depression, anxiety, paranoia, psychosis, and suicidal thoughts.

Do you have addiction issues and suicidal thoughts?

When a person is addicted to alcohol or drugs, they may have suicidal thoughts. If this is the case for you, consult the following sections:

01 Taking stock of your mental health

The first step toward taking back control is identifying what’s causing your suicidal thoughts.

02 Taking care of yourself

There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself and regain your balance when you’re having suicidal thoughts.

03 Talking about it with your loved ones

Asking for help from your family and friends isn’t always easy. There are different ways of going about it.

04 Finding support services

Every day, all sorts of people contact support services to get the help they need.

What to do if you’re addicted to alcohol or drugs

It’s possible to treat alcohol and drug addictions. If you have one or more symptoms that indicate you’re addicted to alcohol or drugs, first call Info-Social at 811, option 2, to discuss your situation with a psychosocial worker and be referred, if necessary, to resources in your area that can provide support.

For an assessment and follow-up with a healthcare professional, consult a general practitioner (your family doctor, for example), a psychologist or contact your local CLSC.

Other resources can help people with problematic substance use issues.

Advice for people with problematic substance use issues

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