There are proven links between substance abuse, violence, and suicide. Drug and alcohol abuse increase the risk that an individual will either become violent towards others or attempt to take their own life. There is some ambiguity in the studies and statistics though, because individuals who have substance abuse issues may also suffer from mental disorders that can play a role as well. Anyone who has an undiagnosed mental illness may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to self medicate, and in these situations it can be hard to determine what was caused by the substance abuse and which actions and behaviors are actually the result of an underlying mental disorder that has not been accurately diagnosed and effectively treated.
Substance abuse has the ability to lower inhibitions, and in some cases violence is the result of this. When someone is drunk or high they may lash out in ways that would not occur when the individual is sober. Acts of violence may also increase the risk of suicide, especially if the individual feels that they can not control violent tendencies. If the person feels depressed or has emotional pain on a constant basis then this can also cause suicidal thoughts. When substance abuse is added into the mix then the person is more likely to act on an impulse to harm themselves or others because the drugs or alcohol use eliminates any restraint that they might have. Since around 90% of suicide attempts can be linked to mental illness it is important that any mental disorders are accurately diagnosed and substance abuse is avoided.