Alcohol and suicidal behavior: what is known and what can be done.
Research on associations between substances of abuse and suicidal behaviors is a large, complex area. Herein, alcohol, the most commonly abused intoxicant worldwide, is examined with a focus on two topics: (1) acute use of alcohol (AUA) shortly prior to suicidal behavior; and (2) more chronic alcohol use disorder (AUD) and suicidal behavior. First, a brief summary of what is known about AUA, AUD, and suicidal behavior is provided. Next, we draw on preliminary evidence, practical considerations, and our own experience to offer recommendations for intervention research that may lower risk associated with AUA and AUD. The literature on AUD and suicidal behavior is more developed, thus we discuss separately research designed to: (1) prevent individuals with AUD with suicidal ideation from engaging in suicidal behavior; and (2) prevent individuals with AUD who have made a suicide attempt from reattempting. Our focus is on clinical intervention strategies for individuals at risk for suicidal behavior that use alcohol or have developed AUD. We also focus on applied research that may directly lead to practical prevention efforts. Although clinical interventions are important components of a comprehensive suicide prevention strategy, they should be complemented with primary prevention efforts.
Conner, KR; Bagge, CL; Goldston, DB; Ilgen, MA
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