Excessive alcohol consumption increases one’s chances of attempting or committing suicide. This is a statement that has been supported by studies going back to the seventies. It is likely that suicides and depression are influenced by alcohol intake because of the damage alcohol does to the brain. A person who is an alcoholic, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol daily, physically changes the shape and chemical makeup of their brain. This change can result to physical ailments, as well as emotional problems. While many studies have corroborated the link between alcohol and suicide, not many studies have examined the effects of alcohol restrictions on suicides.
Recently, a group of researchers set out to determine if areas with heavier alcohol tax, restrictions on the amount of alcohol in stores, or stricter driving under the influence laws had lower suicide rates. The answer was, yes – areas that make it more difficult to purchase alcohol, or get away with consuming excessive amounts, have less people committing suicide. The research did not specifically answer why this would be the case, but is likely that slight adjustments to make it more difficult to consume copious amounts of alcohol make it less likely that a person will get to the point of wanting to commit suicide.
“By making alcohol less available, it is possible to reduce the average risk of suicide, especially those where alcohol is involved. Departing from approaches that narrowly target members deemed at ‘high risk’ and that commonly address suicidal behaviors almost exclusively as problems of individuals, this population-based approach is likely to maximize public health benefit and to show long-lasting influence on reducing suicide,” explained the authors of the study.
Currently, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. Cities throughout the country are constantly looking at how they can lower their suicide rate. Which is why this information is so critical. By curbing the access to alcohol, even slightly, thousands of lives can be saved. In fact, the data is even more compelling when you look outside of the United States. The same researchers looked at information gathered in other countries, and found similar results, highlighting the influence cities and town all over the world can have on suicide rates.