Adolescent Drug Abuse Leading Into Suicidal Thoughts and Actions

September 12, 2019
Adolescent Drug Abuse Leading Into Suicidal Thoughts and Actions
Jenna Nolan

Jenna Nolan is a South Florida native working toward double Master’s degrees in Psychology and English. She finds the psychological aspects of addiction and mental illness fascinating, as both are prevalent in her family’s history. When not researching and spreading addiction awareness, Jenna enjoys sparring, artistic pursuits, and admiring puppies online.

Adolescent Drug Abuse Leading Into Suicidal Thoughts and Actions

Suicide ideation in teenagers stems from personal trauma that may be exacerbated by an underlying mental condition. For some teens, this trauma can lead to drug or alcohol abuse as an attempt to cope. Instead, substance abuse may lead to more trauma, creating a cycle of addiction as a means to escape the pain. When teens become involved with drugs and alcohol, treatment may be necessary to ensure that your child is able to have a brighter future.

How do you assess if a teen is experiencing suicidal ideation or struggling with substance abuse? If they are, what comes next?


Has the child experienced any of the following?

  • Parental divorce and/or abandonment
  • A death in the family, or of a close friend
  • Bullying at school
  • Prior mood or eating disorders
  • Past or current physical, sexual, and psychological abuse
  • Neglect
  • Anything else that a young child could find traumatic, sometimes depending on the child


Children who experience trauma that goes unaddressed can suffer life-long psychological effects, such as PTSD, depression, and anxiety which lead to self-medication with drugs and alcohol. These effects start to manifest in many different ways:

  • Lower grades and decreased school performance
  • Rejection of parental attention
  • Avoiding siblings and close friends
  • Self-isolation
  • Hygiene issues
  • Giving their things away
  • Expressing thoughts such as feeling like a burden
  • Feeling of hopelessness
  • Lethargy
  • Extreme moods
  • Violent or reckless behavior
  • Excessive sleeping


If the teen ever mentions suicide, even as a joke, then it is on their mind in some form. Niznik Behavioral Health offers adolescent drug treatments and dual diagnosis residential treatments. Their programs include age appropriate group therapies and relapse prevention education. Therapists run healthy relationships groups, mentor in life skills and in using healthy coping mechanisms. These therapeutic options contain: CBT, DBT, Art Therapy, 12 steps, emotional awareness programs, psycho-educational and psychotherapy treatments.

Suicide, intentional or otherwise, through drug overdose or dangerous, self-destructive behavior, is rampant and increasing. According to the CDC, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and every 11 minutes, someone dies from suicide. So, what do you do if someone that you know may be doing drugs and alcohol and are at risk of suicide?

The first thing that should be done is a conversation with the teen. Be supportive and listen to them speak. Don't speak over them or tell them that what they are feeling is wrong. If you just listen, then you may be able to tell how deep the issues go, or even figure out when they began. While listening to the teen, you may get an explanation of some of their recent behaviors. Once a dialogue has begun, then the healing can begin. So, please contact us at Niznik Behavioral Health and we can help with further communication and healing. We will be here from the beginning and we aren't going away.

Safe Landing Recovery