Depression is a painful emotion that torments every mind once it has managed to carve a place for itself in it. With depressive thoughts recurring now and then, the person only looks for reasons and ways to escape their inner sorrows. People who reach this point feel, 'maybe, death hurts less than life'.
Coping up with such emotions alone is often impossible, especially when one's family and friends are unaware of the person's inner grief. Limited resources and partial sharing options add up to this dilemma, making it only worse for the subject to slowly give in to death. Thus, most patients suffering from major depressive disorder are often suicidal.
According to a report by the Irish Examiner, men are more likely to commit suicide than women, with the rate for adult men amounting to about four times the suicide rate for women. Women attempt suicide at times. However, their attempts are not as extreme as the attempts made by men.
Although most suicidal people have a mood disorder, suicidal behaviour can also be associated with other syndromes, such as Schizophrenia, Somatoform disorders, and anxiety disorders, especially panic disorder.
Suicidality is assessed in many contexts, including suicidal hotlines, hospital emergency rooms, mental health clinics, and inpatient psychiatric facilities. Theories about the causes of suicide focus both on the experience of depression that often precedes a suicide attempt, and on related conditions that may serve as predisposing factors.
Biological indicators of stress and having a family history where many relatives have opted for this 'option' may trigger this thought in the patient's mind. Such factors may predispose many individuals to clinical states which later, may lead to suicidality. Immune system dysfunction may also play a role in suicide risk.
According to E S Shneidman, people who attempt suicide are trying to communicate with their peers. They are frustrated as their psychological needs go unnoticed to important people in their lives.
From a cognitive oriented view, Y Van Beek purposes that suicide is the expression of feelings of hopelessness triggered by perceiving one's stress to be insurmountable. The role of stress as a cause of suicide has emerged from research on adolescent suicide. The death of relatives, family financial problems, and substance abuse problem are some of the situational factors that appear to predispose young people to seek death.
Regaining a sense of control over their lives can be a very good start in treating suicidal individuals. If the person gets an opportunity to interact with his neighbours, friends, and close relatives, he/she is no longer left isolated with his/her depressing thoughts. Even professionals encourage this idea of 'contact and connect' while dealing with their patients.
Therapists also use cognitive-behavioural techniques to help the individuals gain control over suicidal feelings by thinking of alternative ways when it comes to dealing with stress.
Considering the reasons for living and shifting the focus away from death to life through cognitive conversations are often fruitful. Making the patient realise that death is not the only option and life has more to offer will lead him towards the fullness of life.
Shakowath Sharif is a Psychotherapist and team member, Psychological Health Club -Bangladesh. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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