Debora Ganz and Leo Sher
Columbia University and New York State Psychiatric Institute, New York, New York, USA
Suicidal Behavior in Alcohol and Drug Abuse and Dependence. Hauppauge, New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2010, 540 pages.
Internationally, alcohol use disorders and depression are both highly associated with suicidality. Such association is not surprising since many of the causes of alcoholism and depression overlap and both contribute to suicidal tendencies. Suicidal risk is even higher in individuals suffering from comorbid depression and alcohol abuse than it is in individuals presenting with depression or alcohol abuse alone. This connection between alcohol use, depression and suicidality appears to vary across gender, age, race and socio-economic background.
There are many clinical features, as well as biological and social contributors, that are commonly present in individuals suffering from comorbid alcoholism, depression and suicidal tendencies. Most of these clinical features are enhanced by the comorbidity of alcohol abuse, depression and suicidality. Alcohol abuse, depression and suicidal behavior have been found to have biochemical and genetic correlates. Alcohol abuse, depression and suicidality are also commonly comorbid with other psychiatric disorders, childhood abuse, aggression, substance use, life stressors, and low self esteem. This article also discusses the social stigma associated with alcoholism, depression and suicidality, and how that may serve to enhance these disorders. Many directional models are presented (1) based on past research and (2) as suggestions for future research. There is a lot that can be done by clinicians, legal and educational professionals and society at large that may help to prevent and treat such problems.