Suicide Prevention

Understanding the risk factors, how to prevent them, and how to assist yourself or someone who is currently battling.

Background on Suicide

Suicide is described as the deliberate taking of one’s own life. It is derived from the Latin suicidium, which meaning “to kill oneself.” Depending on the culture, it has a variety of characteristics. Suicide has long been considered a criminal infraction, a religious taboo, and, in some situations, an act of honor in various cultures (e.g., kamikaze and suicide bombings).

Suicide, sometimes known as completed suicide, is the accomplished act of deliberately causing one’s own death. Attempted suicide is a suicide attempt that results in self-injury rather than death. Assisted suicide, a contentious medical topic, is defined as a person assisting another in bringing about their own death by providing them with the means to do so or by giving them information on how to do so.

Risk Factors for Suicide

Psychiatric illnesses, genetics, substance addiction, and family and social conditions are the most commonly stated risk factors for suicide. Psychiatric issues and substance misuse frequently coexist. Access to guns and other means of suicide raises the chance of suicide. Suicide rates are higher in houses with guns than in homes without them, for example.

Mental illnesses have a significant part in the increased risk of suicide, with estimates indicating that up to 90% of those who commit suicide suffer from a psychiatric ailment. Suicide risk for those with mental illnesses drops dramatically once they are admitted to treatment. Major depressive illness, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and eating disorders are the mental disorders with the highest prevalence of suicide risk. Individuals with major depressive illness and bipolar disorder have a 20-fold increased risk of suicide.

Substance addiction is the second-highest risk factor for suicide, after severe depressive illness and bipolar disorder. Alcoholism is prevalent at the time of death in up to 61% of completed suicide cases, according to statistics. Suicide is also a common risk factor for heroin and cocaine users, with heroin users having a 14-fold increased risk and cocaine users having a higher chance of suicide during withdrawal. Cannabis usage has not been linked to an increased risk of suicide in users.

Suicide risk is assumed to be influenced by genetics, with a family history of suicide indicating a higher risk of suicide in other family members, accounting for up to 55% of suicidal actions. Suicide is also linked to a family history of mental illness and substance misuse. Suicide exposure (e.g., witnessing a family member commit suicide or discovering their body) is also associated with an increased risk of suicidal conduct.

Suicide risk is also influenced by family and socioeconomic circumstances. Suicide risk is increased by unemployment, homelessness, poverty, childhood sexual abuse, social isolation, loss of a loved one, and other life difficulties. Sexual abuse is considered to play a role in 20% of all suicide attempts.

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Preventing Suicide

Suicide prevention and therapy are determined by the patient’s risk factors. In addition to preventing suicidal thoughts and behaviors, treatments are provided in light of underlying disorders. If you have a mental disorder, you must first go through a treatment plan to become better. Psychotherapy (also known as talk therapy) in the form of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is one of the most prevalent suicide prevention approaches (DBT).

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a frequent therapy option for people with a variety of mental illnesses. You will learn new strategies to deal with stress and stressful life experiences in this type of psychotherapy. When suicidal thoughts occur, you can redirect them and cope with them in a different way than attempting suicide.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy is a technique for assisting a person in recognizing disruptive or unhealthy feelings or behaviors. This therapeutic method, in turn, introduces skills for dealing with challenging or troubling situations. More study on psychotherapy for suicide prevention is needed, however, because DBT, in particular, has been proven to reduce the rate of attempted suicides but not completed suicides.

Medications can also be provided as a suicide prevention strategy; however, this method is fraught with debate, as many medications used to treat mental problems come with an increased risk of suicide as a side effect. Antidepressants, in particular, have a risk of increasing suicide thoughts and actions, albeit this risk may vary depending on age. According to clinical evidence, antidepressants raise the risk of suicide and suicidal thoughts in young adults, but this risk decreases as they get older.

Increased awareness among doctors is another method of prevention. According to research, many people who have committed suicide or attempted suicide sought medical help in the previous year; yet, warning indications may have gone unnoticed. Suicide rates may be reduced in the future if medical practitioners are more educated and alert.

Popular “crisis hotlines” have gotten no substantial data signals in the research to establish whether or not their use is effective. However, one beneficial side effect of these hotlines is that they are well known, which raises suicide awareness among the general public. In collaboration with the International Association for Suicide Prevention and the World Health Organization, September 10 has been designated as World Suicide Prevention Day in an effort to raise awareness about suicide and the risk factors that lead to suicide.

If You Require Assistance

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) if you are suicidal. It is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Toll-free numbers are available to anyone, and all calls are kept private.

Do not leave a suicidal person alone if you know who they are. Attempt to contact their medical provider, a hospital, or 911 for immediate assistance. Take away access to potentially dangerous goods like firearms, medicines, or other possible threats.

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