Initially, I had intended to compose a blog post exploring alcohol as a neurotoxic substance, but recent tragic news has shifted my focus. Last week, I was informed that my first boyfriend took his own life, underscoring a distressing connection between alcohol and suicide.
Despite outward appearances, my boyfriend always carried a lingering sadness. Initially, I mistook it for a mysterious allure, corresponding to the captivating aura some musicians possess. However, I soon realised that his pain ran deeper. His childhood was marked by unhappiness, a common thread in my generation, burdened by parents navigating the strictness and financial constraints of their upbringing juxtaposed with the freedom and experimentation of their hippie twenties in a consumerism world. Setting aside discussions of generational and childhood trauma, the reality is that my former boyfriend carried a persistent burden from early on, never healing from the inner pain that manifested so visibly.
While he was initially more inclined toward avidly smoking weed many times daily, alcohol gradually became a significant factor in his life. Despite a period of relative happiness, he faced a challenge he couldn't overcome a few years ago, descending into a dark abyss of alcohol and cheap cocaine for several years after that event. Despite the efforts of friends and family, he succumbed to isolation, never emerging from the darkness. Alcohol played a pivotal role in his final days and years, culminating in the heartbreaking discovery of his lifeless body at home. Regrettably, his story is not unique. 'Rethink Addiction' in Australia offers sobering statistics:
1 in 4 Australians will struggle with alcohol, other drugs, or gambling in their lifetime.
1 Australian dies from alcohol, other drugs, and gambling harm almost EVERY hour.
2019/2020: The leading causes for alcohol-related injury deaths among males were suicide (48%), accidental poisoning (23%) and transport (12%). For females, suicide (43%), accidental poisoning (33%) and falls (9%) were the leading causes.
Moreover, the potent link between alcohol and depression cannot be ignored. As a depressant, alcohol disrupts brain chemistry, exacerbating symptoms in individuals with pre-existing conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, and borderline personality disorder.
While this article doesn't delve into the detailed effects of alcohol on the brain and nervous system, it emphasises a crucial message: the dangerous combination of depression and alcohol and the direct link between alcohol-related deaths and suicide. If you or someone you love needs help, numerous resources are available, including in-person or online alcohol counselling.
Some resources for emergency:
Emergency service 000
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back 1300 659 467