The Good Life Research Centre Trust, Rangiora, New Zealand
Suicidal Behavior in Alcohol and Drug Abuse and Dependence. Hauppauge, New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2010, 540 pages.
Research has long focused on the relationship between depression and suicide, the literature also links alcohol and drugs as causes of depression thus inferring a causal relationship to suicide. However, there is some doubt as to the true nature of the relationship between depression and suicide. Therefore, a weak depression-suicide link would undermine the alcohol/drug abuse-suicide scenario (and other suicide scenarios which are based on depression and mental illness). As discussed elsewhere the whole approach to suicide research will need to be evaluated to benefit current health and social policies and future policy development. Indeed, there is anecdotal evidence highlighting the relationship between an understanding of the dynamics of human behaviour and the current policy of insisting on manipulating the perceived link between mental health and suicide to reduce the suicide rate. The role alcohol plays in the process of suicide, it is argued, may be related to the means and method of suicide and not the cause of suicide. To place emphasis on the alcohol-suicide link would be repeating the depression-suicide link leading to a large volume of research but very little understanding of suicide as a process of decision making. Furthermore, it diverts attention from other relationships e.g. between alcohol/drugs with the economy, culture, society and social perceptions and expectations. In other words, despite the harmful effects of drugs, drinking alcohol and substance taking (e.g. party pills) are socially acceptable. This chapter provides a discussion of the relevant issues surrounding human behaviour and argues that, at least in part, the dynamics of the decision making process are motivated by social, educational, and economic policies.