Warning Signs of Suicide & When to Get Treatment Help
If ever there was a “silent” epidemic, suicide rates across the U. S. would most definitely qualify as no one wants to talk about this condition. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, suicide ranked as the 10th leading cause of death in 2013, which totaled out at 41,149 cases. This number amounts to 12.6 suicides for every 100,000 people, 113 suicides per day or a suicide event occurring every 13 minutes in 2013.
Once a person enters into the state of mind that suicide breeds, he or she starts to exhibit certain warning signs that reflect an intention. Unless a person is fully determined to conceal his or her intentions, warning signs of suicide may well take shape one or two weeks ahead of the person’s target date. Being able to recognize these signs can go a long way towards helping protect someone you care about, be it a loved one, a friend or yourself.
The Suicidal Brain-Mind
According to the British Journal of Psychiatry, the state of a person’s brain chemistry plays a central role in generating thoughts of suicide as well as the emotions that drive suicidal tendencies. Disruptions in the brain’s normal chemical processes impair functioning within certain key brain structures, including:
- The frontal lobes
- The ventral medial frontal regions
- The amygdala
- The limbic system in general, which regulates emotions and drives
In effect, brain chemical imbalances become a driving force behind suicide-related thoughts, emotions and behaviors.
Warning Signs of Suicide
Warning signs of suicide can vary depending on a person’s circumstances, though certain core behaviors will likely surface over time. Warning signs to watch out for include:
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Unhealthy sleep patterns, such as sleeping too much or not sleeping much at all
- Isolating or withdrawing from social interactions altogether
- Using drugs or alcohol in excess
- Extreme or noticeable swings in mood state
- Displaying rage-like behavior or violent behavior displays
- Taking dangerous or unnecessary risks
- Talk of feeling trapped inside one’s pain
Risk factors for suicide involve any events or circumstances that increase the likelihood a person will consider and/or carry out an attempt, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. While risk factors can vary according to age, gender or ethnicity, areas to consider include:
- If a person has attempted suicide before
- If a family history of suicide exists
- An existing substance abuse disorder
- Access to firearms
- Mood disorders
- History of physical and/or sexual abuse
- Violence in the home
More often than not, depression-type mood disorders contribute greatly to developing suicidal intentions, especially in cases of major depression as well as chronic depression, which can linger for months or years at a time.
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When to Get Treatment Help
Much like depression develops out of chemical imbalances in the brain, brain chemical imbalance also plays an active role in driving suicide-based thoughts and emotions. While not everyone who exhibits warning signs of suicide may be at risk, these signs are nonetheless distressing and warrant consideration under any circumstances.
If you’re seeing warning signs of suicide in yourself or someone you know and have further questions or need help finding a treatment center near you, please don’t hesitate to call our toll-free number at 800-481-6320 for more information.