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Friday, May 20, 2011

Drug Related Suicide Attempts


Prescription medications are sending more and more people to the E.R., not for overdoses but for suicide attempts. A number of drugs, especially anti-anxiety medications and sleeping pills have a propensity to cause severe depression with the onset of suicidal thoughts which some people are putting in to practice. Suicide attempts rose 49 percent among women ages 50 and older from 2005 to 2009, according to a new federal report prepared by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). They found that 16,757 women 50 and older had a drug-related suicide attempt in 2009, compared with 11,235 in 2005.

Emergency room visits for suicide attempts among women of all ages involving:

  • drugs to treat anxiety and insomnia increased 56 percent during this period, from 32,426 in 2005 to 50,548 in 2009
  • pain relievers rose more than 30 percent, from 36,563 in 2005 to 47,838 in 2009
  • cases where hydrocodone was involved rose 67 percent, from 4,613 to 7,715, and cases involving oxycodone rose 210 percent, from 1,895 in 2005 to 5,875 in 2009

A former President of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City, Dr. Elizabeth F. Howell, told ABC News that she is not shocked by the findings, doctors are relying more on medications to treat both physical and psychological problems while spending less time with their patients. Patients need to be fully informed about the drugs that they are being prescribed, especially when drugs are known to cause suicidal tendencies. Do not let your doctor just write you a "script" and send you out the door to fend for yourself. If you are experiencing abnormal thoughts we encourage you to call a professional for guidance.

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