People react differently to the tough situations in their life. Challenges make some people stronger, while for others it may open a final and easy route with no way of turning back. Suicide, which is a self-inflicted death penalty, occurs among the people of all cultures and races with age or sex being no barrier to it either. Recently, there have been reports of even children as young as 10 years old walking down this drastic route. Suicidal behavior has numerous and complex causes. The biology of the brain, genetics, psychological traits, and social forces can all contribute to suicide. Although people commonly attribute suicide to external circumstances—such as divorce, loss of a job, or failure in school—most experts believe these events are triggers rather than causes in themselves. If you are alert to the signs that indicate suicidal tendency in any person you know, you can avert it. Most suicides can be prevented because the suicidal state of mind is usually temporary. Here is the list of 10 characteristics that is often seen in people who are prone to suicide.
Suicide rate varies by age group. Of all age groups, the elderly have the highest suicide rates, particularly white men over the age of 75. The increased rate of suicide among elderly people appears mostly due to the debilitating effects of physical illness, loss of social roles and relationships, and untreated depression. If you know anyone fitting into the above category of suicide prone people, keep in touch with them and watch out for stress signals.
Majority of people who kill themselves suffer from depression that is often undiagnosed and untreated. Because depression precedes most suicides, early recognition of depression and treatment through medication and psychotherapy are important ways of preventing suicide.
Research indicates that suicidal behavior runs in families, suggesting that genetic and biological factors play a role in one’s suicide risk. Among one community of Amish people in Pennsylvania, almost three-quarters of all suicides that occurred over a 100-year period were in just four families. Studies of twins reared apart provide some support for a genetic influence in suicide. If you know someone with a family history of suicidal tendencies, giving out signs of desperation, give attention to them immediately.
The inability to control impulsive and violent behavior may have biological roots which are seen in people with suicidal tendencies. Research has found lower than normal levels of a substance associated with the brain chemical serotonin in people with impulsive aggressiveness that are more prone to suicide and also violence. At times it is the hostility against self.
Studies consistently show that although suicidal people do not appear to have greater life stress than others, they lack effective strategies to cope with stress. The lack of life skills and dealing with problems can lead to other stressors like broken relationships, failures, loneliness and other causes which may create frustration in them.
Most of the people who are suicide prone have parents with greater frequency of mental illness and substance abuse than other parents. However, suicide occurs in all types of families, including those with little apparent turmoil.
Occasionally, people commit suicide as a form of protest against the policies of a particular government. Those who become obsessed with certain beliefs should be watched for closely. Not only can they kill themselves, they may end up harming others in their frenzy.
About 80 percent of people who complete suicide give warning signs, although the warnings may not be overt or obvious. These usually take the form of talking about suicide or a wish to die; statements about hopelessness, helplessness, or worthlessness; preoccupation with death; and references to suicide in drawings, school essays, poems, or notes.
One of the more obvious behaviors and signs include sudden, dramatic, and unexplained changes in behavior, what are called “termination behaviors.” These behaviors include an interest in putting personal affairs in order and giving away prized possessions, often accompanied by statements of sadness or despair.
The risk factors include previous suicide attempts, a history of suicide among family members, and social isolation. People who live alone or lack close friends may not receive emotional support that would otherwise protect them from despair and irrational thinking during difficult periods of life. For a person having suicidal tendencies, love and care is never going to be enough because it is not enough to be loved. The question in their mind that creates havoc is “Is there anybody who cares, who needs me, to whom I make a difference?” An answer to that question can save their lives.