By Steve Johnson
Addiction and suicide are serious problems in our society today. But if you have a loved one experiencing these mental health issues, how can you help? To start, you can look for some of the signs that your loved one may be experiencing suicidal thoughts and/or addiction. Many of the signs listed below may also be signs of other mental illnesses, such as depression, which can contribute to substance abuse and suicidal thoughts.
10 Signs of Possible Addiction and/or Suicidal Thoughts
- If a loved one is frequently mentioning or seems to have an obsession with death, they may be thinking about suicide. If they are talking about wanting to die, it’s a warning sign that must always be taken and treated seriously.
- If an individual is drinking alcohol more than usual or is taking drugs, there could be trouble. These are serious signs and help should be sought.
- If you notice that your loved one is sleeping more or less than usual, they may be experiencing depression or another mental illness. It is also possible that they may have some suicidal thoughts, likely impacted by their mental illness.
- If a loved one is acting more withdrawn from people or not wanting to see people they usually spend time with, this withdrawn behavior could be a sign that they’re having suicidal thoughts. People contemplating suicide may withdraw from those they care about in an attempt to shut off feelings of guilt or, in some cases, to break away from their loved ones sooner with the hope of making their death less painful for those they care about.
- When a loved one is experiencing serious mood swings, this is a sign that something may be going on. They may be experiencing depression and/or suicidal thoughts.
- A sign that someone may be having some suicidal thoughts or feelings is if they begin to give away their most valuable items. These could be items that they would never get rid of, but they want them to go to certain people when they die.
- Losing interest in activities may be a sign that someone is having some troubling thoughts and feelings, and in more serious cases, suicidal thoughts. These could be activities in the home or outside of the home, and they could be done alone or with others.
- When it seems that someone is suddenly feeling the need to get their papers in order, perhaps writing a will or sending letters to others, there may be some dangerous thoughts happening. Note that it’s important to distinguish this as a sudden activity without a logical catalyst, such as the death of an aging loved one. When it happens suddenly and seemingly without cause, and particularly when accompanied by other concerning signs, it may be time to have a talk to gain some insight into what’s going on.
- Eating more or less than usual can be a sign of depression or other mental illnesses, addiction, or suicidal thoughts. Depression can have significant effects on appetite, and in a severe bout of depression accompanied by suicidal thoughts, these changes may be extreme.
- It is a significant problem if someone talks about feeling hopeless, and/or expresses that they don’t think things will ever get better for them. These feelings, emotions, and words need to be taken very seriously.
Where to Seek Help
When a loved one may be experiencing suicidal thoughts or addiction, it is important to support them, and to help them seek professional help. There are many different options for help such as support groups, psychiatrists, therapists, psychologists, and even online help with therapists.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is one of the best places to start. You can find out where to get behavioral, opioid, or physician treatment. Also listed are many helpful phone numbers: the National Helpline, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, Veteran’s Crisis Line, Disaster Distress Helpline, and the Drug-Free Workplace phone number. Remember that if anyone is in imminent danger, call 911 immediately.
Image via Pixabay by Unsplash
Steve Johnson co-created PublicHealthLibrary.org with a fellow pre-med student.The availability of accurate health facts, advice, and general answers is something Steve wants for all people, not just those in the health and medical field. He continues to spread trustworthy information and resources through the website, but also enjoys tennis and adding to his record collection in his spare time.