Here is a sobering statistic.

Deaths from self-injury, a category that includes drug and alcohol use and committing suicide, has surpassed diabetes as the seventh-leading cause in the U.S., a study has shown.

Self-injury mortality is a term that encompasses deaths due to accidental and non-accidental drug-intoxication, as well as suicide, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The true number of deaths may be grossly underreported, the researchers said, as risk factors and reporting methods vary and are often difficult to determine.

While the occurrence of self-injury-related deaths outpaced those due to diabetes, targeted prevention efforts lag behind. As a result, the authors are urging the public and health care providers to start thinking about different types of self-injuries as being related when it comes to public health and prevention efforts.

The authors said they hope that similar to other chronic illnesses -- heart disease, cancer, lung disease -- adequate resources will be put toward targeted research and prevention efforts in order to decrease self-injury-related deaths.