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OPINION

Slow Suicides
Steve Stewart, © 2011

The means of suicide are well documented and are predictable by age and gender. For example more than half of all suicides in the US are by self-inflicted gunshot wounds; guns are more commonly used by males than females. Deliberate overdosing on pills is more commonly a female method while hangings and suffocations are gender neutral. Slashing wrists is more commonly female and driving into bridge abutments and trees is more common among males.

All of these methods are intended to result in the immediate death of the suicider. However, these are not all the common methods. When the person's high risk behavior is likely to take more time to effect a death, and the risk is acknowledged, is that not a slow suicide?

What is anorexia if not slow suicide?
No treatment is completely effective. Recovery rates vary from 23% to 50% each attempts and relapses can run to 27%. Recovery takes an average of 5-6 years and 30% of anorexics never recover from any attempt.

Risk for an early death is higher for younger anorexics and those who start younger have the condition longer, well before the body is fully formed and strong. Heart disease is the most common medical cause of death in people with severe anorexia. University of Maryland Medical Center.

What is extreme drug abuse - recreational or prescriptive (particularly when it is not your own prescription) - if not slow suicide?
Half (49%) of all drug related deaths are from using prescription drugs - which may or may not have been the prescription of the person who dies. A 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that more than 70% of those who abused prescription pain relievers got them from friends and relatives "while approximately [a moderately low] 5% got them from a drug dealer or the from the Internet." Who is the drug dealer in your family?
Prescription drug misuse.

As for recreational drug use, depending on the drug, addiction can come with a single use [crack, cocaine, heroin, morphine]. Every use of drugs which are unregulated in quality and strength can cause an accidental overdose and a death. Every time, every use, users risk their lives without knowing who or where the quality of make up of the drug was determined beforehand. Heroin is an unpredictable drug and as a consequence, users frequently overdose. Add to that the high risk of implements such as needles. Drug addicts are notoriously casual about the sterility of their needles and more concerned about the desired high and about where to inject themselves without leaving a tell-tale needle track. Could anything else in the world give you the idea to stick a needle between your toes [1] [2]?

What is Alcoholism if not slow suicide?
In 2009, twice as many people died from prescription drug abuse than those who died from drunk-driving related accidents. Yet there is noting thought safe about drunk driving.

Untreated alcoholism persists. 96% of alcoholics who die by suicide continue their substance abuse right up to the end of their lives. Persistent, habitual alcoholism is a factor in about 30 percent of all completed suicides, ignoring the temporary, momentary use of alcohol at the moment of suicide. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Steve Stewart Seminars | 276 N. El Camino Real #184 | Oceanside CA 92058 | 760-298-8146/Direct, 760-216-1353/Cell | www.Steve-Stewart.com/ChooseLife