Before you finish reading the next page, someone in the United States will TRY to kill himself. About eighty Americans will actually have taken their own lives by this time tomorrow. Suicide is an individual’s (maladaptive) choice of action aimed toward correction/alleviation of what they perceive as an intolerable crisis and existence.
Suicide is the individual’s SOLUTION to the problem and NOT the problem itself. Suicide ranks among the top ten causes of death in this country. Between 27,000 and 30,000 persons kill themselves in the U.S. each year, and eight to ten times that many as attempt suicide. Many of those who attempt will try again, a number of them with lethal success. Suicide is the third leading cause of death between ages of 15-24 and the fifth leading cause in children age 5-14. However men over 85 have the highest suicide rate. There are then, approximately, a quarter of a million persons each year in this country who are seriously suicidal and who are desperately struggling with life and death. These figures are conservative estimates because many suicides are not reported.
Facts and Myths about Suicide
|People who talk about suicide don’t commit suicide.||Of any ten persons who kill themselves, eight have given definite warnings of their suicidal intentions.|
|Suicide happens without warning.||Studies reveal that the suicidal person gives many clues and warnings regarding his suicidal intentions.|
|Suicidal people are fully intent on dying.||Most suicidal people are undecided about living or dying, and they gamble with death, leaving it to others to save them. Almost no one commits suicide without letting others know how he is feeling.|
|Once a person is suicidal, he is suicidal forever.||Individuals who wish to kill themselves are suicidal only for a limited period of time.|
|Improvement following a suicidal crisis means that the suicidal risk is over.||Most suicides occur within about three months following the beginning of “improvement,” when the individual has the energy to put his morbid thoughts and feelings into effect.|
|Suicide strikes much more often among the rich—or, conversely, it occurs almost exclusively among the poor.||Suicide is neither the rich man’s disease nor the poor man’s curse. Suicide is very “democratic” and is represented proportionally among all levels of society.|
|Suicide is inherited or “runs in the family.”||Suicide does not run in families. It is an individual pattern.|
|All suicidal individuals are mentally ill, and suicide always is the act of a psychotic person.||Studies of hundreds of genuine suicide notes indicate that, although the suicidal person is extremely unhappy, he is not necessarily mentally ill.|
Precipitating Suicidal Factors
For the person experiencing a suicidal crisis state, the three major causative factors TEND to be:
1. Depression with overwhelmingly intense feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
2. Use of alcohol or other drug use, including opiate-based pain medications and benzodiazepines.
3. Overwhelming loss, including loss of relationships, health, other losses of control or sense of self-worth.
• “I no longer want to live.”
• “I won’t be a problem to YOU much longer.”
• “Life just doesn’t seem to have any meaning anymore.”
• “I’m going to kill myself.”
• The overt procuring of a lethal store of pills; the purchase of a weapon
• The sudden decision to make up (or revise) a will
• The giving away of treasured pets and/or possessions
• The sudden or gradual withdrawal from all social contact
• The discontinuation of necessary medications
• Past unsuccessful attempts
Types of Suicidal Behavior
A. Impulse Suicide: in the sudden heat of anger/rage, acute disappointment, or frustration, some people react with impulsive suicidal behavior. Afraid to (or conditioned by society NOT to) express those violent reactions outwardly, these people turn the violence inward…venting its force on themselves.
B. “Tired of Serious Illness” Suicide: people in constant pain, suffering from chronic (debilitating) diseases, or enduring a terminal illness experience progressively negative feelings of hopelessness and disintegration in their self-concept. Individual may come to regard suicide as a very acceptable/appropriate alternative to (or escape from) a life of suffering.
C. Non-Communication Suicide: many persons who attempt suicide do not truly wish to DIE, they wish to COMMUNICATE. The individual wants to establish (or RE-establish) a sense of personal worth, and various lines of interpersonal communication. (i.e.: he wants to give or receive messages, conduct business interactions, etc.). This suicidal individual has come to regard himself as being incapable of, not worthy of, not permitted to, or even ignored while attempting to communicate with others.
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