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Suicidal Risks Go Higher With Cocaine Plus Alcohol Use

Update Date: Apr 11, 2016 05:28 AM EDT
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Using cocaine and alcohol simultaneously may enhance suicidal risk in the user, reveals a new study. Though there is no established link between suicide and alcohol, the combination of alcohol and cocaine appears to have a role to play in the suicide issue.

Researchers from Brown University obtained data from suicidal emergency departments around the US and made a detailed study of hundreds of patients on the link between cocaine, alcohol and suicidal risk, according to Headlines And Global News.

"One unexpected finding was that, when examined independently, alcohol use had no significant association and cocaine use had a borderline significant association," noted, the investigators in the journal Crisis. "However, reporting both alcohol misuse and cocaine use was significantly associated with a future suicide attempt," reported Science Daily.

About 874 patients, both men,and women, who were treated at emergency departments from 2010 to 2012 were involved in the study. It was noted in the study conducted by a team of researchers led by Sarah Arias, assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University, that the patients were a part of Emergency Department Safety Assessment and Follow-up Evaluation study, led by the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

The patients either attempted suicide recently or had been consistently involved in suicidal thoughts when they were present at the Emergency Department visit. During the follow-up process for next one year, the researchers found that of all the participants took part in the study, 195 patients attempted suicide at least once through the year.

The patients were involved in the variety of substance abuse that includes marijuana, tranquilizers, painkillers, stimulants, alcohol, and cocaine. Among different combinations of abuse, the risk of suicide was found to be high in case of alcohol and cocaine association. There was 2.4 times higher suicidal risk in people that used alcohol and cocaine simultaneously than those that used different substances as well as in varied combinations.

"It's not a clear-cut, straightforward association. We're on our way to trying to identify factors that can be used to better assess and identify people who are at risk for suicide, and ultimately I think this is a step in the right direction to get a better picture," Arias said. "Patients who have potentially comorbid alcohol and cocaine use may be at a higher risk. Findings like these can be useful for informing suicide risk assessment."

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