What are Suicidal Ideations?
If your therapist diagnoses you with suicidal ideation, it means that you’re preoccupied with the idea of suicide. You may have frequent thoughts about commiting suicide or think about what life would be like if you weren’t around.
It’s important to know the warning signs to look for if you or someone you know is dealing with suicidal ideation. The sooner you are aware of the signs, the sooner you can find the help you need.
Signs that someone is having serious thoughts of suicide include:
- Thinking that you wish you weren’t alive, had not been born, or that your friends or family would be better off without you.
- Avoiding social contact with people
- Preparing for attempting suicide, such as acquiring a weapon or researching methods of suicide
- Being especially risky in all areas of your life, consumption of excessive amounts of alcohol or drugs
- Showing signs of anxiety or getting upset over frivolous things
- Wanting to part away with your belongings and treating people as if you might not see them again
- Talking about feeling hopeless
- Making a property will or giving away personal possessions
- Exhibiting reckless behaviour such as excessive alcohol or drug consumption
- Avoiding social interactions with others
- Expressing rage or intentions to seek revenge
- Appear anxious or agitated
Suicide can run in families. One might try to end their life if someone in the family has already done so.
A person may also be at risk for suicidal ideation if they are experiencing:
- A traumatic situation
- A difficult struggle or challenge
Seeking therapy early can help you reduce your risk for suicidal ideation and suicide.
The risk of suicide increases if :
- A drug or alcohol abuse problem
- A mental disorder or stress condition
- Terminal illness, or other medical condition in which one feels hopeless
- Attempted suicide before
- The influence of drugs or alcohol can increase risk for suicidal ideation and provide an added urge to go through with the act.
Passive suicidal ideation is the condition when a person desires death but has no specific plan to commit suicide.
If one is experiencing passive suicidal ideation, their thoughts may involve dying in your sleep or having a fatal accident. Passive doesn’t mean harmless. This thought process has the potential to put themselves at risk.
Though passive suicidal ideation appears to be fleeting, the risk of a suicide attempt exists. The line between passive and active suicidal ideation appears to be blurry. The transition may be slow or sudden, and it’s not always evident to the observer.
While someone might admit to end their life, they may deny the same. No one can exactly predict with 100 percent certainty if someone will or will not take their own life.
Existing conditions such as substance abuse, major depression, or other mood disorders may lead to a preoccupation with dying. Added factors such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or a job loss can trigger thoughts of hopelessness or worthlessness. One shouldn’t take passive suicidal ideation lightly. See your therapist or psychiatrist for a careful evaluation and to get appropriate treatment.
Some medications have been linked with an increase in suicidal thoughts. Antidepressants have been linked to this behavior. This is generally the case in the first weeks of taking the medication or after a change in dosage.
Children and adolescents are at high risk. Researchers in recent studies are disputing this relationship. In case one starts having thoughts of suicide while taking an antidepressant, contact your therapist immediately.
If one has symptoms of depression and are having constant thoughts of suicide, seek immediate therapy.
Your therapist may ask you many questions to understand the severity of your situation. Few of the questions are :
- How long have you had thoughts of suicide?
- Do you have a history of depression?
- How far have your thoughts of suicide gone? Have you come up with a plan?
- Are you taking any medications? If so, what are they?
- Do you use alcohol or drugs? If so, how often?
Your therapist may ask you to take a questionnaire. The answers will help them assess your mental health in the due course of treatment.
Your therapist will treat your depression depending on the severity of your condition.
Your doctor may prescribe antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication. These can help you manage your symptoms. You should also expect your treatment plan to include talking to a psychologist or counselor.
Ask your psychologist about ways to find additional support. They can recommend a support group. They may have recommendations for how to get help if you use alcohol or drugs that may be contributing to your challenges.
Your outlook towards depression or suicidal thoughts will improve with a good social circle. Discussing with others regarding the challenges you’re facing may help. Going out and work out in any form can also help reduce depression, whether its a short get away from the city, the smell of flowers, pursuing your hobbies or release of endorphins, that you experience during physical activity.
Seek help for suicidal ideation from a therapist. Ask for help if you need it.
- Understand your triggers for depression and suicidal ideation. This will help you better manage these triggers in the future.
- Monitor situations you find stressful and how you handle them.
- Maintain a journal to help you understand your feelings.
- Look out for ways to de-stress, such as physical activity or talking with a friend.
- Seek help from a therapist at the first signs of depression.