One of the biggest risk factors for suicide is substance abuse. It may seem like an addict who has gotten help, gone through rehab and is in recovery would be safe from suicidal thoughts. Unfortunately, the addict in recovery still has a long and tough road ahead, and suicide is still a risk. If you care about someone in recovery and are worried about her state of mind, learn more about the signs of suicidal thoughts and how to help. Substance Abuse and Suicide There are many risk factors for suicide, including psychiatric disorders, trauma and stressful life events, but substance abuse and addiction are most important in many cases. Although the reasons for the connection are not completely understood, one major idea is the link to mental health. Substance abuse as a risk factor is second only to mood disorders like depression. Substance abuse is often a strategy for self-medicating for mood disorders. Someone with a substance abuse issue is more likely to have a mood disorder and therefore be at risk for suicide. How to Recognize Suicidal Thoughts When someone is suicidal, it starts with thinking. Suicide is not something that a person does out of nowhere. First she starts thinking about suicide, and then she may or may not make an attempt to end her life. If you are worried about someone, it is important to be able to recognize that she may be thinking about suicide so you can intervene before she makes an attempt. Here are some important signs: \tTalking about suicide. \tTalking about being worthless or a burden. \tFeeling hopeless about the future. \tSaying goodbye or giving away personal items. \tWithdrawing from family and friends. \tGetting access to a means for suicide (a gun, pills, etc.) \tSuddenly acting calm. Preventing Suicide in Recovering Addicts Understanding the risk and signs of suicide in recovering addicts is one of the best ways you can help a loved one. Recovery isn\u2019t easy. Your loved one may be feeling really down after coming home from rehab. It\u2019s not unusual to feel lost, to have no direction and even to grieve the loss of the addiction. To prevent suicidal thoughts, it\u2019s important that the recovering addict continue with some kind of treatment. This could be regular attendance at a support group, working with a sponsor or one-on-one therapy sessions. Another way to prevent suicide is to stay close to the recovering addict you care about and to observe her behavior. Just having that close connection to someone who cares can help. Also helpful is to keep her busy with useful and rewarding activities. Help her find a job or go back to school. If these aren\u2019t feasible, get her involved with volunteer work or new hobbies. Getting Help In spite of your best efforts at prevention, you may see signs of suicidal thoughts in your loved one. If this happens, you need to know what to do. Suicidal thoughts and behaviors should always be taken seriously. Don\u2019t ignore your intuitions, and do speak up and talk to the person you think may be suicidal. Be calm, sympathetic and listen. Don\u2019t argue or be judgmental, and never promise to keep it a secret. Get your loved one to her therapist for professional counseling. Sometimes suicide seems imminent. If you are worried that your loved one is going to commit suicide, don\u2019t hesitate to get emergency help. Call an emergency hotline or take her to the emergency room. You won\u2019t be blamed for overreacting, but you will regret not acting. Suicide is serious, and if you have concerns, speak up. You could save a life.