Sunday, January 11, 2009
Is Suicide a complex behaviour?

Suicide is a complex behaviour. Many medical, psychological and
social factors such as depression, substance abuse, personal crisis,
and the availability of firearms or a lethal supply of drugs can put
a person at risk of suicide. Response to these risk factors varies
dramatically from person to person. It is impossible to predict with
certainty who will kill themselves, or attempt to do so.
A suicide attempt is a clear indication that something is gravely
wrong in a person's life. Irrespective of the race or age of the
person; or how rich or poor they are, most people who commit suicide
have a mental or emotional disorder. The most common underlying
disorder is depression, 30% to 70% of suicide victims suffer from
major depression or bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder. Alcoholism
and other drug abuse increase the risk of suicide.
Any one of these symptoms does not necessarily mean the person is
suicidal, but several of these symptoms may signal a need for help:

Verbal suicide threats
Expressions of hopelessness and helplessness
Previous suicide attempts
Daring or risk-taking behavior
Personality change
Giving away prized possession
Lack of interest in future plans

Eight out of ten suicidal persons give some sign of their intentions.
People who talk about suicide, threaten to commit suicide, or call
suicide crisis centers are 30 times more likely than average to kill

If someone is suicidal:

Trust one's instincts that the person may be in trouble

Talk with the person about his concerns. Communication needs to
include listening.

Ask direct questions without being judgmental. Determine if the
person has a specific plan no carry out the suicide. The more
detailed the plan, the greater the risk

Get professional help, even if the person resists

Do not leave the person alone

Do not swear to secrecy

Do not act shocked or judgmental

Do not counsel the person oneself

No single therapeutic approach is suitable for all suicidal persons
or suicidal tendencies. The most common ways to treat underlying
illnesses associated with suicide are with medication, talk therapy
or a combination of the two.

Cognitive (talk therapy) and behavioral (changing behavior) therapies
aim at relieving the despair of suicidal patients by showing them
other solutions to their problems and new ways to think about
themselves and their world. Behavioral methods, such as training in
assertiveness, problem-solving, social skills, and muscle relaxation,
may reduce depression, anxiety, and social ineptitude.
Cognitive and behavioral homework assignments are planned in
collaboration with the patient and explained as experiments that will
be educational even if they fail. The therapist emphasizes that the
patient is doing most of the work, because it is especially important
for a suicidal person not to see the therapist as necessary for their

Recent research strongly supports the use of medication to treat the
underlying depression associated with suicide. Antidepressant
medication act on chemical pathways of the brain related to mood.
There are many very effective antidepressants. The two most common
types are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and
tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs). Other new types of antidepressants
(e.g. alpha-2 antagonist, selective norepinephrine reuptake
inhibitors (SNRIs) and aminoketones) , and an older class, monoamine
oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are also prescribed by some doctors.
Antidepressant medications are not habit-forming. Although some
symptoms such as insomnia, often improve within a week or two, it may
take three or four weeks before one feels better; the full benefit of
medication may require six to eight weeks of treatment. Sometimes
changes need to be made in the dosage or medication type before
improvements are noticed. It is usually recommended that medications
be taken for at least four to nine months after the depressive
symptoms have improved. People with chronic depression may need to
stay on medication to prevent or lessen further episodes.

People taking antidepressants should be monitored by a doctor who
knows about treating clinical depression to ensure the best treatment
with the fewest side effects. It is also very important that the
doctor be informed about all other medicines that are taken,
including vitamins and herbal supplements, in order to help avoid
dangerous interactions. Alcohol or other drugs can interact
negatively with antidepressant medication. One should not discontinue
medication without discussing the decision with the doctor.

Suicide survivors: those left behind

When an individual commits suicide or tries to, that person's family
and close friends often are devastated and experience intense and
persistent pain. Suicide survivors may suffer through repeated
nightmares and flashbacks of the suicide scene, and they may avoid
people and places that remind them of the suicide. Some survivors
lose interest in activities they once enjoyed and grow emotionally
numb feeling incapable of caring. Beyond bereavement, suicide
survivors may themselves become depressed or develop another mental
illness due to severe stress.

It is fairly common for suicide survivors to develop a mental
illness, especially depression. Counseling or psychotherapy can help
one cope with the crisis. Support groups made up of other suicide
survivors also can help one find one's way through the maze of
emotions and physical changes one may be experiencing. Counseling or
support groups led by trained professionals are especially important
if one does not one have adequate support from family and friends.
Many suicide survivors refuse to seek help because they think it is a
sign of weakness. But it is just the opposite. Seeking help when one
needs it is a sign of strength.

Are you one of those who constantly thinking of suicide .
posted by JEI @ JEIZONE at 17:42 |