According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the leading cause of death in the United States. But what’s most shocking about this statistic is that suicide is 100 percent preventable with the right resources and awareness of the warning signs. Of course, there are certain suicide risk factors that can increase the likelihood of somebody struggling with this mental illness. So, are you at risk?
Below, we’ll learn more about suicide risk factors to watch out for. Additionally, we’ll go through what to do if you have any of these risk factors. Lastly, you will get an overview of treatment options for this mental health disorder so that you can get help before it’s too late.
Suicide Risk Factors and Warning Signs
Unfortunately, there has been an increase in suicide rates in recent years. One of the most effective ways to prevent suicide is to recognize the risk factors and warning signs. To begin, it’s important to note that anyone can struggle with suicidal thoughts.
However; there are certain suicide risk factors that can increase the likelihood of you or someone you love struggling with suicidal behaviors. Some of these risks of suicide include:
1. You live with chronic pain
Chronic pain is a large contributing factor for depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. Though not everyone who has chronic pain will experience this, as many as 85 percent of people who live with chronic pain also has severe depression. If left untreated, this combination of pain and depression can increase the risk of suicide.
This is why it is vital to get the right type of pain management plan. Without it, you might feel that you will be in pain—emotional and physical—for the rest of your life. In truth, there are ways to make the symptoms of chronic pain more manageable. This will then improve your overall quality of life, which can positively impact your mental health.
2. You have co-occurring mental health disorders
Just as with chronic pain, leaving co-occurring mental health disorders untreated can be a major suicide risk factor. Some examples of mental health conditions that increase the risk of suicide include:
- Bipolar disorder
- Mood disorders
Struggling day in and day out with the symptoms of untreated mental health disorders can leave anyone feeling hopeless. These mental health disorders can take you to dark places that are hard to get out from. This is why if you have a mental illness, it’s essential to get the right type of treatment.
3. You struggle with substance abuse
One of the biggest suicide risk factors is substance abuse. Oftentimes, people who are struggling with suicidal thoughts might turn to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain for a bit. But this only ends up making the distress worse.
Studies show that addictive substances like drugs and alcohol can exacerbate pre-existing mental health symptoms and even lead to dangerous breakdowns. Furthermore, in an intoxicated state, people are often more impulsive, as they’re unable to think through their behaviors entirely before acting on them. This impulsivity combined with suicidal behaviors can be deadly.
For people who have mental health disorders and struggle with substance abuse, there is specialized care, called dual diagnosis treatment, that can help. In this type of treatment, you will be able to address the underlying causes of the addiction as well as learn coping strategies that you can use throughout your time in recovery. These treatment methods can help reduce the risk of suicide and keep you on the path of recovery.
4. You have a family history of suicide
A surprising risk factor for suicide includes having a family history of suicide. People who have a family member or close loved one die by suicide are much more likely to also attempt suicide. There are a couple of different reasons for this.
First, there is a genetic component to mental health difficulties. This means that, biologically, if somebody in your family struggles with anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, or other mental health concerns, you might have a higher chance of struggling with the same or similar symptoms. Having a genetic predisposition is a major suicide risk factor.
When there’s a family history of suicide, you might also feel that if your loved one had no other way out, it means that you also do not have other options. However, this is far from the truth. There are treatment opportunities out there that can help.
5. You’ve had a previous suicide attempt
Research shows that having a previous suicide attempt is one of the biggest risk factors for suicide in the future. This is particularly true when somebody does not receive the proper care after the initial suicide attempt. Without treatment, the symptoms can come back stronger.
Warning Signs of Suicide to Watch Out For
As with suicide risk factors, the warning signs aren’t always obvious. For example, somebody might appear happy on the outside, as though nothing is wrong. They might be able to work, socialize, and create healthy relationships. But in reality, they are fighting an invisible battle on the inside.
Some of the most alarming signs to look out for include:
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Not making future plans
- Thinking people would be better off without you
- Thinking often about suicide
- Planning suicide
What to Do if You Are at Risk for Suicide
If you have experienced any of these warning signs as well as the risk factors described above, it’s important to seek mental health help right away. Though it might not feel like it, there is hope for the future. Getting the right kind of treatment can save your life.
At Georgetown Behavioral Hospital, we aim to provide immediate and effective help to people who are at risk for suicide. You will have access to many different services that can help you to feel happier and more hopeful, including:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
- Trauma therapy
- Group therapy
- Family counseling
- Medication evaluation and management
Most importantly, you will be in a safe, comfortable environment while you work toward recovery. Struggling with suicidal ideations and behaviors can feel incredibly isolating, but here, you aren’t alone and you aren’t without hope.
For more information on suicide risk factors as well as what you can do to protect yourself from these dangers, give the staff at Georgetown Behavioral a call at 937-483-4930. You also have the option to complete a confidential contact form with your questions. No matter how you choose to reach out, know that help is here.