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Insomnia Fuels Relationship Between Alcohol & Suicide Risk

Insomnia Fuels Relationship Between Alcohol & Suicide Risk

Researchers at Mississippi State University are the first to show that insomnia plays a huge role in the relationship between alcohol use and suicide risk.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accounting for more than 38,000 deaths in the U.S. each year, while excessive alcohol use leads to approximately 88,000 lives lost.

For the study, 375 college students were asked to complete an online questionnaire regarding insomnia symptoms, alcohol use, nightmares, and suicide risk. The researchers found that insomnia had significant role in the relationship between drinking alcohol and the risk of suicide among women.

On the other hand, for men, there was no direct effect alcohol on suicide risk, but there was a significant indirect insomnia increasing alcohol use, which in turn impacts suicide risk.

“These results are important as they help demonstrate that alcohol use is associated with an increase in suicide risk, and that this increase may be partially due to insomnia symptoms,” explained lead study author Dr. Michael Nadorff. “By better understanding this relationship, and the mechanisms associated with increased risk, we can better design interventions to reduce suicide risk.”

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, about 10% of people have chronic insomnia disorder, which is characterized as having sleep disturbances and daytime sleepiness symptoms for at least 3 months, while 15 – 20% of adults regularly experience short-term insomnia. Both types of insomnia are more common in women than in men.

You can read more about this study in the December issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

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