A recent study conducted by the University of Michigan and the Department of Veteran Affairs has found that veterans with substance abuse problems are more likely to commit suicide than veterans who are not suffering from an addiction.
The study, which was recently published in the journal Addiction, involved 4.4 million veterans and was conducted over a period of six years. Findings show that male veterans with substance abuse problems are twice as likely to die from suicide than their colleagues. In the case of female veterans, the numbers significantly rise to five times more likely. The risk is even greater among those who also suffer from mental health problems.
The risk of suicide also varies depending on the substance being misused. Among all substances misused by veterans, opioids lead to the highest suicide risk in women while amphetamines lead to the highest suicide risk in men.
Kipling Bohnert, Ph.D., who led the study, says “substance use disorders may be important markers for suicide risk.” The study concluded that due to the high correlation between substance abuse and suicide rates, there needs to be an increase in suicide prevention efforts among veterans with substance abuse problems.