SOC 490 - Week 1 - Capstone Topic Selection.doc
SOC 490 - Week 1 - Capstone Topic Selection.doc PRG211
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Date Created: 11/13/15
Running head: SUICIDE AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE 1 Suicide and Substance Abuse Student Name SOC490 Social Science Capstone Instructor University Date SUICIDE AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE 2 Suicide and Substance Abuse The link between substance abuse and suicide is empirical. Studies of individuals in substance abuse treatment programs report a commonality of past and present suicidal thoughts, behavior, and attempts (Kessler, Borges, Walters, 1999). The goal of this research is to investigate the association of alcohol abuse, suicidal behavior, and relevant research information exploring reasons for the association as well as possible interventions beneficial to those involved. Teens and adults from all cultures and socioeconomic groups are affected by suicide. The relationship of substance abuse increases the risk of suicide. Individuals with mental health disorders abusing substances increase the risk of suicide substantially. The link between alcohol and suicidal behavior cover various categories. Social associations are contributing factor in substance abuse and suicide rates; therefore, investigating this issue using the social learning theory and differential association perspective will provide information on levels. Using this perspective, the focus and examination will cover the biological, environmental, and social forces influencing substance abuse related to suicidal behaviors. These influences vary dependent on age and involve micro and macro levels; therefore, adults aged 25 55 is the target population. Literature Review Substance abuse does not spare gender, age, socioeconomic, or cultural groups. The relationship between alcohol consumption and suicide mortality differs internationally. However, review of literature is overwhelming. Stack (2000) reviewed 55 of 89 studies performed in 17 countries showing the greater the consumption of alcohol, the greater the suicide rate. Strength and association varied significantly. For example, France reported an increase in suicide of 2.6% with a one liter per capita consumption increase and 16% in Norway. Regional differences were SUICIDE AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE 3 found in Europe reporting the suicide rate is more responsive to changes in the consumption of alcohol in lower consuming countries than medium or high consumption countries (Brady, 2006). In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) published reports indicating a significant amount of alcohol levels in the toxicology of suicide victims. Blood alcohol measurements were performed postmortem revealing one in four victims had intoxicated over the legal limit. The limits of the study include only 17 states were examined and the blood alcohol measurements taken were for 70% of suicide cases (CDC, n.d.). Relevant to studies is those deaths and suicides not reported from substance abuse, intentional or unintentional. The information cannot be considered confounded because the number of suicides related to alcohol or substance abuse is recognized. Political and psychological factors Many elements factoring in to suicide include poverty, unemployment, racism, sexism, dissolution of family, feelings of failure, alienation, and hopelessness. These feelings become magnified for those individuals using substances. Some people consistently faced with these elements and stresses are drawn to drugs and alcohol seeking an escape potentially leading to a downward spiral. Treating alcohol and drug abuse will help to reduce suicides associated with such; however, the elements involved are challenging. Political factors involving socioeconomic conditions, substance and alcohol control, as well as available educational programs and insurance limits factor into substance abuse and suicide prevention. The environment of an individual, peers, family, education, and life events are interrelated. The availability of drugs on the street, the locations of bars in ratio to neighborhoods, schools, clinics, crime factors, etc. are SUICIDE AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE 4 vital components for those searching for escape or method of suicide and triggers for those trying to prevent relapse. History has proven political methods to reduce consumption of alcohol have been ineffective. Prohibition of alcohol in the United States did not work, raising the legal age to consume alcohol has not worked, programs and campaigns over the last two decades emphasizing deterrence from drugs and alcohol have failed. Stricter penalties have been enforced with severe consequences undermining instead of reinforcing laws. The 2001 report by the Surgeon General concluded voluntary participation in the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E) program remains popular; however, despite evaluations and metaanalyses consistently reporting little or no deterrent effects on substance abuse (PBS, 2001). Civil commitment is common although very often misused in the United States allowing immediate removal of a person from society with suicidal thoughts or actions acting as a prevention of suicide with no empirical evidence proving this true (Rosenhan, 1973). Additionally, children and youths in an environment of alcohol, drugs, and depression are affected by abuse and suicidal behaviors. These individuals tend to be ignored during a crisis presenting another challenge to educate and prevent the substance abuse and the potential suicide cycle. Mental disorders and substance abuse combined with the elements is a potential breeding ground for suicidal behaviors (COAF, n.d.). Many approaches exist in treating individuals with suicidal thoughts or attempted suicide. Treatment for substance abuse is the first approach. From the social perspective, changing a substance user’s environment and peer associations is critical. Behavioral approaches emphasize positive peer associations, prosocial activities, and lifestyles. Therapeutic communities help individuals learn new attitudes and behaviors toward drugs, alcohol, and other negative forces driving the suicidal thoughts (NIDA, 1991). Additionally, the biopsychosocial approach calls for SUICIDE AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE 5 a global assessment using the DSMIV to filter out personality disorders and medical conditions causing the individual to have a higher risk of suicide in addition to substance abuse (APA, 2000). SUICIDE AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE 6 References American Psychiatric Association (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed.). Washington: DC. Brady, J. (2006). The association between alcohol misuse and suicidal behaviour, Alcohol and Alcoholism (41) 5, 473478. Retrieved from Research Database. Center on Addiction and the Family (COAF). (n.d.). Effects of parental substance abuse on children and families. Retrieved from: http://www.coaf.org/professionals/effects%20.htm Center for Disease Control (n.d.). Suicides due to alcohol and/or drug abuse. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/NVDRS_Data_Briefa.pdf Frontline. (2001). Busted: America’s war on marijuana. Retrieved from: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/dope/dare/ Kessler, R., Borges G., Walters, E. (1999). Prevalence of and risk factors for lifetime suicide attempts in the National Comorbidity Survey. Arch Gen Psychiatry. (56) p. 617626. Rosenhan, D. (1973). On being sane in insane places. Science, 179, 250258. Retrieved from: http://www.scottsdalecc.edu/ricker/pests/online_articles/Rosenhan1975.pdf.
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