Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Suicide: Warning Signs And Prevention

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Suicide Deaths
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collects data about mortality in the U.S., including deaths by suicide. In 2013 (the most recent year for which full data are available), 41,149 suicides were reported, making suicide the 10th leading cause of death for Americans. In that year, someone in the country died by suicide every 12.8 minutes.

Suicide Warning Signs

The following signs may mean someone is at risk for suicide. The risk of suicide is greater if a behavior is new or has increased and if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. If you or someone you know exhibits any of these signs, seek help as soon as possible by calling the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves.
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online or buying a gun
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
  • Talking about being a burden to others.
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
  • Sleeping too little or too much.
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves.
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
  • Displaying extreme mood swings.

Are There Risk Factors for Suicide?

Risk factors for suicide vary by age, gender, and ethnic group. And risk factors often occur in combinations.
Over 90% of people who die by suicide have clinical depression or another diagnosable mental disorder. Many times, people who die by suicide have an alcohol or substance abuse problem. Often they have that problem in combination with other mental disorders.
Adverse or traumatic life events in combination with other risk factors, such as clinical depression, may lead to suicide. But suicide and suicidal behavior are never normal responses to stress.
Other risk factors for suicide include:
  • One or more prior suicide attempts
  • Family history of mental disorder or substance abuse
  • Family history of suicide
  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Keeping firearms in the home
  • Chronic physical illness, including chronic pain
  • Incarceration
  • Exposure to the suicidal behavior of others

Are There Warning Signs of Suicide?

Warning signs that someone may be thinking about or planning to commit suicide include:
  • Always talking or thinking about death
  • Clinical depression -- deep sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping and eating -- that gets worse
  • Having a "death wish," tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death, such as driving fast or running red lights
  • Losing interest in things one used to care about
  • Making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless
  • Putting affairs in order, tying up loose ends, changing a will
  • Saying things like "it would be better if I wasn't here" or "I want out"
  • Sudden, unexpected switch from being very sad to being very calm or appearing to be happy
  • Talking about suicide or killing one's self
  • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
Be especially concerned if a person is exhibiting any of these warning signs and has attempted suicide in the past. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, between 20% and 50% of people who commit suicide have had a previous attempt.

Where Can I Get Help for Suicide and Depression?

Encourage a suicidal or depressed person to seek the help of a mental health professional. Because the person may feel so hopeless that they may not think it's possible to be helped, you'll probably have to be persistent and go with that person.
If your loved one appears to be in imminent danger of committing suicide, do not leave him or her alone. Remove any weapons or drugs he or she could use. Accompany him or her to the nearest emergency room or call 911.
During treatment, be supportive. Help the person remember to take antidepressants or other prescribed medications and to continue any other therapy that's been prescribed.

Thank you, as always for reading me, and for reading BRAINTENANCE.
Douglas E. Castle
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