Is an Addict at an Increased Risk for Suicide During Their Recovery?

When an addict decides to pursue sobriety, they will face some serious challenges. These are people who are leaving a past where they dealt with problems by using drugs or alcohol. They won\’t be able to do this during recovery. It is a time when a recovering addict will need to develop new coping skills to face problems. In some cases, addicts feel overwhelmed. This could cause them to have feelings of hopelessness and desperation. It is a time when they could develop thoughts of suicide.

Addiction And Suicide

It has been established that people who commit suicide are often dealing with substance abuse. Individuals who abuse drugs or alcohol have a five times greater chance of killing themselves when compared to the general population. These are individuals who will usually handle their depressive symptoms by self-medicating with drugs or alcohol. Doing this only makes their symptoms worse. Substance abuse can directly cause individuals to develop depression. This is when they will most often have thoughts of suicide. People who try to recover from their addiction are at an increased risk for suicide.

Suicide During Recovery

There are many reasons a recovering addict may choose to end their life.

*Recovery Process is Ongoing – Successful recovery requires an addict to be constantly developing. They must face challenges in their life they\’ve been avoiding and overcome them. Should an addict refuse to face these challenges, they will not be able to progress. This is known as the dry drunk syndrome. An addict may think they will never be able to face the challenges of their life being sober. Some addicts begin to believe suicide is a way out of this situation.

  • Dual Diagnosis – In addition to their addiction, a person could be suffering from depression. These are individuals who may have started their substance abuse as a way to deal with other symptoms. If a person is only being treated for addiction, their other mental health issues will continue to be a problem for them.
  • Previous Suicide Attempts – Should an addict have attempted suicide in the past, there is an increased risk of them doing so during their recovery.
  • Emotional Roller coaster – The initial stages of an addict\’s recovery will be an emotional roller coaster for them. This is a time when they will experience significant highs and serious lows. When they are experiencing a low, an addict can be overwhelmed with hopelessness and believe things will never get better for them.

Feeling Hopeless

An addict may be facing serious challenges in their life other than their recovery. These are problems that can cause them to feel hopeless.

  • Fear of the future
  • Death of a friend or family member
  • Feeling their life lacks meaning
  • Financial problems
  • Loneliness
  • Legal problems
  • Poor health
  • Ending of Relationships
  • Chronic pain
  • Having been diagnosed with a disease


When an addict is overwhelmed with feelings of helplessness, they must make an effort to talk about their situation with other people. It doesn\’t matter if the person can provide any important advice or direct help. This will begin the process of getting things out in the open. Keeping negative feelings inside is bad for anyone trying to succeed during recovery.

Professional Advice

When someone is experiencing depressive symptoms, they should try to get professional advice on their situation. It should never be suggested to an addict that their feelings are being caused by not putting enough effort into their recovery. When people suffering from depression obtain the proper treatment for their condition, they stop experiencing depressive symptoms.

Back On Track

Some addicts begin to feel they are stuck in one place during their recovery. This is a time when a person needs to take action to begin progressing. If an addict tries to ignore their problems, it will not go away and could become worse. This could cause increased stress. They could begin to feel desperate.

Warning Signs

Addicts in recovery will display certain warning signs when they are feeling suicidal.

  • Negative Thinking
  • A strong desire to spend most of their time alone
  • Inability to be positive about the future
  • Giving away their belongings
  • Struggling to focus and an inability to concentrate
  • Lack of interest in activities they had previously enjoyed
  • Mentioning suicide or talking about death
  • Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
  • Sudden happy mood after a period of depression. This happens because an addict feels good they have a solution for all their problems
  • Reckless behavior
  • Impulsivity
  • Outbursts of anger

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, we can help. Call us today at 833-820-2922. We have counselors who will be glad to speak with you 24 hours a day.

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