Understanding the many facets of suicide
Suicide is the act when one end own life intentionally. There are several factors which contribute to suicide for instance mental disorders, physical disorders, substance abuse and many more.
Some suicides are due to an impulsive decision made during stress or problems. People who have a history of attempted suicide are likely to complete it therefore they are at greater risk.
The most common method of suicide varies from place to place and depends on the availability of method. Common methods of suicide are by hanging, toxins, humping and firearms. Suicide has been the reason of death across the globe which makes it the 3rd leading cause of death.
Suicide is also highly influenced by broad existential themes such as religion, meaning of life, superstitions and honor.
Risk factors:The factors that contribute to risk of suicide includes mental disorders, social and family situations, substance misuse, genetics and experience of trauma or loss. The other risk factor includes history of attempted suicide, poverty and unemployment.
Mental illness: Mental illness has been recorded with 90% being present in cases of suicide. People who have been hospitalized for suicidal behavior have a risk of 8.6% of completing the suicide. People who have committed suicide almost half of them suffer from major depressive disorder or mood disorders such as bipolar disorder. Other mental conditions which is a risk factor for suicide are schizophrenia, personality disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress.
The fear of being judged by the society for having mental problems and the unwillingness to seek for medical help or the help necessary has been the greatest issue in suicide history.
Previous attempts and self-harm: The most accurate predictor of suicide is a previous history of suicide attempts. Almost 20% of the total suicides recorded have a history of attempt and those who have attempted suicides, 1% of them completes it within a year and more than 5% completes in 10 years.
Self-harm acts are not considered as attempts to suicide and is also not considered as a high-risk factor. Risk for self-harm and suicide may overlap sometimes as some people with self-harm acts can end their life by suicide.
Substance misuse: Substance abuse has been a great risk factor for suicide. Both acute intoxication as well as chronic intoxication are associated with suicide. Substance abuse and mental disorders often go hand in hand.
When people die by suicide most people are found under the influence of sedative or hypnotic drugs such as alcohol and benzodiazepines. The misuse of drugs such as cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine have a very correlation with suicide.
People who has a problem of substance abuse is likely to have suicide tendency during the withdrawal phase.
Media: Internet and media plays a very crucial role. In internet people can find out detailed descriptions of how to kill oneself by a specific method which can be imitated by the people. Media and film industry sometimes show suicide as an act of heroism and romanticizes it which is adapted by people more easily.
“Werther effect” also known as the copycat suicide is named after protagonist in Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther who kills himself when gets involved in a love triangle and his character was so much loved by the audience that many of his admirers copied him. Fictional characters can trigger suicidal thoughts in many adults.
Media houses and internet should be more careful on what and how they show things related to suicide.
Other factors: The most common risk factor in both children and adults has been trauma. Prejudice and bullying have been the reason of ending life in many cases. Sexual abuse and childhood sexual abuse has reportedly been the risk factor for suicide in almost 20% of the cases.
Gambling problem is also associated with the increased suicide and attempts. Pathological gamblers have the tendency to attempt suicide and it adds to almost 12-24% of the cases. The tendency of suicide is three times greater in the spouses according to the reports.
Suicides are also associated with genetics. History of suicide in the family is likely to be a risk factor contributing to suicide and it is more likely to affect the children rather than adults.
Poverty and unemployment are also the risk factors for suicide. The unimaginable amount of hunger, stress and desperate life leads to suicide as they see it as their only way out of misery.
Methods: Methods of suicide varies from place to place. However, the most common method in suicide reported are by hanging, poisoning and jumping. The difference in the method is believed to be according to the availability of methods in the given time.
Methods and their deaths rate reported are as follows: hanging 60-85%, poisoning 60-75%, jumping 35-60%, drowning 65-80 %, firearms 70-90% and medication overdose 5%.
Suicide prevention: suicide prevention is a term used for all the efforts done to reduce suicide through preventive measures. Factors that contribute towards the prevention of suicide is awareness, support and therapy or help. Almost 60% of the people who have tendency to commit suicide do not seek for help.
Reducing access to risk factors such as drugs, alcohol, toxins and firearms can also help reduce the risk of suicide.
Creating awareness in the society about suicide and how mental health is associated with it is also very necessary.
School based knowledge on mental health and awareness programs must be done to prevent suicide.
There are many things that can be done and must be done but mainly the individual who has suicidal thoughts and tendency must seek for help.
There are number of hotline numbers provided and several therapies introduced to help people.