Alcoholism Xanax suicide

by Michael


My brother committed suicide last night. He was an alcoholic and I just found out he had been taking Xanax. I don’t know how many, but every day. What is a doctors responsibility in prescribing Xanax to a depressed alcoholic ?? My family has just been destroyed and I need to know this please.

Proper Screening

by: Ned Wicker

Dear Michael,

I am so very sorry to hear that your brother took his life. All too often, patients hide information from their doctors. His doctor was basing his decisions on what he observed during conversations with your brother, and through the medical examinations.

If your brother made some office visits and got checkups, I can understand how a doctor might not know anything at all about his drinking. Doctors will take a medical history and ask if a patient drinks, but they may not ask if a patient is an alcoholic.

The patient is not necessarily going to offer that. The anti-depressants may or may not do any good in terms of lessening depression, but in combination with alcohol, they can do great harm and so doctors and pharmacists will explain that to patients. Do not take with alcohol.

Your brother used the alcohol to feel normal, or to medicate his pain. The drug acts quickly, but he needed to drink more and more to achieve the desired effect.

Then there was the Xanax. Eventually there is a tipping point and I suspect that was the case. In that moment, he made a dreadful decision.

You have experienced a profound loss. Sadly, pills and alcohol contribute to so many suicides, as the diseased mind is not capable of seeing the entire picture, formulating alternative thoughts and the only way out is the tragic end to life.

I am sure his doctor did a proper screening, but sometimes that is not enough. The heartbreaking truth is people make bad decisions, but I share your curiosity about what the doctor knew.

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