Suicide and suicidal behavior

A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia.

Suicide and suicidal behavior

Last reviewed: February 11, 2012.

Suicide is the act of taking one’s own life on purpose. Suicidal behavior is any action that could cause a person to die, such as taking a drug overdose or crashing a car on purpose.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Suicide and suicidal behaviors usually occur in people with one or more of the following:

People who try to commit suicide are often trying to get away from a life situation that seems impossible to deal with. Many who make a suicide attempt are seeking relief from:

  • Feeling ashamed, guilty, or like a burden to others

  • Feeling like a victim

  • Feelings of rejection, loss, or loneliness

Suicidal behaviors may occur when there is a situation or event that the person finds overwhelming, such as:

  • Aging (the elderly have the highest rate of suicide)

  • Death of a loved one

  • Dependence on drugs or alcohol

  • Emotional trauma

  • Serious physical illness

  • Unemployment or money problems

Risk factors for suicide in teenagers include:

  • Access to guns

  • Family member who committed suicide

  • History of hurting themselves on purpose

  • History of being neglected or abused

  • Living in communities where there have been recent outbreaks of suicide in young people

  • Romantic breakup

Most suicide attempts do not result in death. Many of these attempts are done in a way that makes rescue possible. These attempts are often a cry for help.

Some people attempt suicide in a way that is less likely to be fatal, such as poisoning or overdose. Males, especially elderly men, are more likely to choose violent methods, such as shooting themselves. As a result, suicide attempts by males are more likely to result in death.

Relatives of people who attempt or commit suicide often blame themselves or become very angry. They may see the suicide attempt as selfish. However, people who try to commit suicide often mistakenly believe that they are doing their friends and relatives a favor by taking themselves out of the world.

2 responses to “Suicide and suicidal behavior

  1. whilst I agree with you mike, there are some who use ‘suicide’ as an attempt to gain power and as a form of emotional abuse. To be fair many are genuine people who are ‘crying out’ for help, we must also realise not everyone is as genuine and they will not think twice of using it to their advantage.

    I’m sure you will disagree but I feel Mental illness should not an excuse for what I have mentioned above.

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