Acute alcohol intoxication itself may act as a trigger for suicidal thoughts and attempts among individuals at risk and may influence the potential lethality of the suicide attempt. New research in alcohol-dependent patients compared the correlates of suicide attempts during a heavy drinking episode with those of suicide attempts during relative sobriety.
In two outpatient and two residential alcohol treatment programs in Warsaw, Poland, 113 patients who reported a suicide attempt during their lifetime were interviewed. The analyses focused on the patients’ most serious suicide attempts and on whether these occurred during a heavy drinking episode.
Over two-thirds of the patients reported that their most serious suicide attempt occurred during a period of heavy drinking. A multivariable logistic model indicated that the following factors significantly distinguished those patients whose most serious suicide attempt occurred during a heavy drinking episode: male gender, younger current age, greater severity of alcohol dependence and the attempt being unplanned.
Among the patients in treatment for an alcohol related suicide attempt or alcohol dependence, the most serious attempt was likely to have been unplanned and committed by men when it occurred during a heavy drinking episode. If you know an alcoholic, be a friend. Stay in contact and be ready for intervention.