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Home > Link between alcohol, suicide and self-harm must not be ignored – Neville.

[] , Meade, Sarah Link between alcohol, suicide and self-harm must not be ignored – Neville. (28 Feb 2013)

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Fine Gael Limerick TD and President of the Irish Association of Sucidology, Dan Neville, has said that the link between alcohol abuse, suicide and self-harm must not be ignored. Deputy Neville made his comments this evening (Thursday) at a seminar on a seminar on mental health and suicide in Crumlin, Dublin.

“While the connection between alcohol abuse, suicide and self-harm is internationally recognised, it is not highlighted often enough. Alcohol dependence often leads to social decline, loss of self-esteem and isolation, all of which can contribute to suicidal feelings. This is coupled with the fact that intoxication makes people more impulsive, weakening normal restraints against dangerous behaviour . This is very important in the context of suicide.

“Little information is available on the role of alcohol in the suicides of non-alcoholics, but some studies suggest that some of these people drink before their deaths, perhaps to bolster their courage. It is well established that people who become dependent on alcohol have a high mortality rate through suicide. We also know that if a person who is mildly depressed, particularly a young person, is involved in heavy binge drinking, a period of severe depression can follow. Long after the effects of the alcohol have worn off, depression remains. Some research indicates that this could last for more than 12 hours after a binge drinking session.

“In 2011, there were more than 12,200 presentations of self-harm to hospital emergency departments, involving 983 individuals. Research shows that for every presentation seen by a doctor, seven others self-harm without ever going to hospital. From 2006 to 2011, the National Suicide Research Foundation in Cork identified 45,284 individuals involved in 69,581 self-harming presentations. More than a third of presentations were due to repeat acts. A total of 374 individuals were involved in ten or more repeated acts of self-harm during that period.

“Overdosing, either with prescribed drugs or over-the-counter medication or both, was the most frequently used method of self-harm across all repeated presentations. But people who had used alcohol at the time took intentional overdoses much more than those who had not. Those who used alcohol had also used much more lethal self-harm methods, than those who did not abuse alcohol in the same way. We must underestimate the impact of alcohol abuse on self-harm and suicide.”


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