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Why Is America’s Suicide Rate Rising?

Posted By Trevor McDonald, Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Updated: Monday, October 1, 2018

According to the Center for Disease Control, the suicide rate in the United States has increased 30% since 1999. This trend is across all social classes, genders, and ages. Sociologists and mental health professionals have wondered for nearly twenty years: why is America's suicide rate rising?

The suicide rate in the United States has increased 30% since 1999.

There are many factors at play when considering this question, but experts believe that the main reasons why we’re seeing more suicides in our country is because of increased stress, a stigma surrounding mental health disorders, increased drug and alcohol addiction, and various life crises.

Increased Stress

We are living with more stress today than ever before. The Great Recession that happened 10 years ago caused hundreds of thousands of people to lose their homes, their businesses, and their income. This caused increased stress and a marginal increase in the suicide rate at the time. But in addition, we need to look at everyday stress. We put ourselves through stressful situations both in our professional and personal relationships, which can really take a toll on our well-being.

If you feel overworked or anxious, seek help from a professional therapist, or figure out the stressors in your life and, if possible, rid yourself of them. For example, if your job has you working 60 hour weeks with work you hate, you might want to find a new job. No pay is worth your well-being and, potentially, your life. Below are also some ways to de-stress after a long day:

Stay in tune with your mind and know your limit with stress, anxiety, and responsibilities. Don’t be afraid to speak up and get help if needed.

 

Mental Health Disorder Stigma

It’s unclear how many reported suicide victims suffer from mental illness, but the number is likely high. It’s hard to determine this information because many people are afraid to get help or they have an undiagnosed mental health disorder, which can then exacerbate suicidal thoughts.

It’s unclear how many reported suicide victims suffer from mental illness, but the number is likely high.Although mental health is being more recognized in our society, there is still a stigma surrounding things like depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and many others. Some people think that if they have a mental health disorder, there’s “something wrong with them” or that it can be changed. For example, someone with depression might just be seen as sad and may even be told things like “just get over it.” But instead of this view, we should approach mental illness as any other physical illness. If you break your arm, you go to the doctor. No one will say “just get over it.” We know where to get the help we need for our physical ailments. But what about our mental health? Therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists are professionally trained to help address these mental health concerns. By changing this stigma surrounding mental health, we may be able to slow suicide rates and share the message that it’s okay to get help when you need it, and it’s okay to put your mental health first.

 

Increased Drug and Alcohol Addiction

Addiction and suicide have a very scary link. Many people who struggle with addiction also have a dual diagnosis of a mental health condition, and as we discussed above, people with mental health conditions may be more likely to commit suicide. The three are intertwined, and the stats prove it. For example, the National Alliance on Mental Health shares that “substance abuse increases the likelihood that a person will commit suicide and drugs and alcohol are the common means for committing the act of suicide.”

The National Alliance on Mental Health shares that “substance abuse increases the likelihood that a person will commit suicide and drugs and alcohol are the common means for committing the act of suicide.”There are key signs to look for if you suspect that you or someone you love is struggling with a mental illness, substance abuse, or both. Below are some red flags:

  • Distancing themselves from others or hobbies that they enjoy
  • Lack of ability to complete everyday tasks
  • Constant alcohol or drug use
  • Statements like “I don’t want to do this anymore”
  • Sudden aggressive behavior
  • Prolonged stress
  • A history of abuse

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and takes way too many lives with it. But if we understand the factors that may increase suicide rates, we can do everything possible to prevent it. We can start by removing the stigma surrounding mental illness, limiting our stress or stressful situations, and getting ourselves or our loved ones help if they are facing substance abuse.


Trevor McDonaldTrevor McDonald is a freelance writer and recovering addict and alcoholic who's been clean and sober for over 5 years. Since his recovery began, he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources, addiction awareness, and general health knowledge. In his free time, you can find him working with recovering addicts or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.

Tags:  addiction  Mental Health  Stress  Suicide 

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A Holistic Approach to Addiction Recovery

Posted By Trevor McDonald, Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Numerous factors kickstart an addiction; not all is to be blamed on the illicit substance itself. Since this is the case, many former addicts follow the holistic approach to overcome their addiction. The objective of holistic healing is to create a balance between the emotional, physical, and spiritual aspects of an individual. In other words, an ailment can only be properly alleviated if the entirety of a person is sound as opposed to solving one area of the whole problem. In addition to pre-existing addiction treatments such as psychotherapy or prescribed medication, holistic healing can also be equally effective.

This is how to have a holistic approach to addiction recovery:

Practice meditationRestore emotional balance

Guilt and shame are common emotions to experience after you decide to live in sobriety. However, these demanding emotions can cause episodes of anxiety and depression. The holistic approach encourages you to confront pain through either holistic therapy or meditation. By intentionally reflecting and assessing past life experiences and choices, you eventually see the big picture of what caused an addiction. Furthermore, reflection and honesty with oneself develop emotional resilience when in the face of challenging emotions and help you become more understanding and compassionate for yourself.

Alleviate physical symptoms

The state of one’s body is directly connected to how well their mind will function. Addiction recovery is not limited to one suffering emotional obstacles. It has a fair share of physical symptoms from withdrawal, mainly: fatigue, low energy, and muscle tension. You can alleviate the symptoms mentioned above with the use of acupuncture to restore proper blood circulation, massage therapy to stimulate relaxation, release muscle tension, and treat insomnia. 

Establish spiritual ground

There are multiple facets to spirituality besides connecting with a divine or religious deity. Spirituality also refers to your sense of self and the feeling of harmony with the surrounding world. After a life of abusing drugs, one may feel they have lost a significant part of their identity, which can ignite confusion on how to live in sobriety and even induce depression.

Find some spiritual ground by turning to yoga and meditation. Both practices deepen self-awareness and introspection, both of which are necessary to create perspective on the root causes of certain choices, overcome trauma from past experiences, and develop a plan of action to avoid relapse. Additionally, yoga and meditation are stress-reducers, which will permanently replace the previous coping mechanism of abusing substances.

Practice mindful nutrition

Eat only wholesome and clean food that optimizes organ function and exercise daily to sustain physical strength and energy. The act of eating is also important as well. Look to implement mindful eating which creates a connection to the act of eating food and encourages you to dedicate your attention to enjoying a meal. The philosophy behind this action is to ultimately help you develop a sense of awareness and understanding for how consuming certain foods and outside substances affect your body, whether that be positive or negative.

AromatherapyCreate a safe external environment

Avoid traveling to places that have triggers and break off relationships with people who will drag you back into substance abuse. There is no reason to include either in your life again. Regarding your living space, be intentional with the type of atmosphere you create. The home should be clean and organized, free of clutter that can otherwise frazzle thoughts and emotions; it needs to diminish your stress and promote relaxation! You should feel at ease devoting time to hobbies, unwinding from the world, and spending time in quiet solitude in your home. To amplify this positive and safe environment, implement the use of aromatherapy with essential oils and keep photos and sentimental items close. You can also breathe new life into the space by allowing in as much natural light as possible and decorating corners with plants— some of which remove toxins in the air.

In conclusion, holistic healing can provide tremendous benefit to a recovering addict and will be the perfect complement to any additional medical treatment. If you’re looking to begin a life of permanent sobriety and devoting equal attention to the emotional, physical, and spiritual elements of your mind and body, then starting out with a holistic approach is a strong first step.


Trevor McDonaldTrevor McDonald is a freelance writer and recovering addict and alcoholic who's been clean and sober for over 5 years. Since his recovery began, he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources, addiction awareness, and general health knowledge. In his free time, you can find him working with recovering addicts or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.

Tags:  addiction  holistic  mindfulness  recovery 

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