Psychological Self-Help

Navigation bar
  Home Print document View PDF document Start Previous page
 80 of 179 
Next page End Contents 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85  

The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill provides a list of signs of
depression and suicide risks something like this: 
1. Changes in mood or personality, e.g., sad, irritable, apathetic,
2. Behavioral changes, e.g., disinterest in school, can’t
concentrate, changed habits. 
3. Different sleep habits e.g., can’t sleep or over-sleeps, awakes
4. Different eating habits e.g., lack of appetite or over-eating. 
5. Less social interests, e.g., withdrawal from friends or usual
6. More worries, e.g., health concerns, the future. 
7. New fears of going crazy, hurting someone, losing self-control. 
8. Dwelling on self-criticism, guilt or shame, self-disdain, or disgust
with others. 
9. Increased hopelessness, e.g., things will never change, I can’t
stand it. 
10. Frequent and highly emotional dreams or nightmares. 
Experts, in general, say the 5 or 6 better predictors of actual
suicide include (a) a history of non-lethal self-injuries (but 90% never
kill themselves), (b) being a male (6 males to 1 female die as young
adults and 20 men to 1 woman among the elderly), (c) being older,
(d) being white, (e) having some psychiatric diagnosis (but less than a
third of those who commit suicide have had contact with psychiatric
services), and (f) having a recent history of a major loss or
disappointment. Maybe as many as 85% of the people who died by
suicide would have been considered depressed if they had seen a
professional, but a lot of depressed people are not suicidal. The lack of
treatment is still a major societal problem. So much more research is
needed, e.g., there are even disagreements about crucial questions,
such as whether taking anti-depressants lowers the rate of suicide by
adolescents (some data suggests it increases the risk—see findings
mentioned later). 
A caution: When reading about the many and varied predictors or
“warning signs” of suicide, please do not assume that having a couple
of warning signs means that suicide is imminent. It may happen, of
course. But I hope it is clear that many of the signs can be common
when one is emotionally upset in any way and not suicidal. 
Previous page Top Next page

« Back