Year: 2006 Source: Alcohol and Alcoholism, v.41, no.5, (August 2006), p.473-478 SIEC No: 20070770

Aims: Despite recent small reductions in overall suicide rates, rates among those aged 25–44 have remained high. The aim of this paper was to examine the evidence for a link between alcohol misuse/consumption and suicidal behaviour, explore the reasons for this association, and consider the implications for reducing rates of suicidal behaviour. Methods: A medline search was performed to find relevant research evidence. Results: There is evidence to suggest alcohol misuse predisposes to suicidal behaviour through its depressogenic effects and promotion of adverse life events, and both behaviours may share a common genetic predisposition. Acute alcohol use can also precipitate suicidal behaviours through induction of negative affect and impairment of problem-solving skills, as well as aggravation of impulsive personality traits, possibly through effects on serotonergic neurotransmission. Conclusions: Effective interventions for problem drinking may help reduce suicide rates. At a public health level, reducing overall alcohol consumption may be beneficial, and the measures shown to be most effective in this regard are those that aim to restrict availability of alcohol.