Depression Suicide Warning Signs

Although treatment for clinical depression is readily available, many depressed individuals don’t seek the help they need. This is very dangerous, as untreated depression can lead to suicide.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2009), suicide was the eleventh leading cause of U.S. deaths in 2006, with more than 33,000 suicides. If you or a loved one is depressed or suicidal, get help right away. Not all depressed individuals display suicidal signs. Most, however, will exhibit some signs of depression or show suicide warning signs.

Signs of Depression

Unlike a simple case of the blues, depression is a deep sense of emptiness and despair that lasts for an extended period of time. Clinical depression keeps a person from living a normal life. Common signs of depression include:

  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest in daily activities
  • Self-loathing
  • Unexplained aches and pains.

If someone you know is showing signs of depression, encourage him to seek help immediately. Depression won’t clear up on its own, and it usually requires medication and therapy.

Suicide Risk Factors

Anyone can suffer from depression and suicide, but some known suicide risk factors do put certain people at an increased risk. For example, males are far more likely to commit suicide than females. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2009), males account for 79 percent of all suicides and commit suicide at almost four times the rate of females. Women, however, attempt suicide two to three times as often as men do. Some believe that men have a higher suicide death rate because they’re more likely to use a lethal weapon, such as a gun, while females are more likely to take an indirect approach, like poison.

Other suicide risk factors include depression or another mental disorder, such as anxiety, schizophrenia or an eating disorder. Substance abuse also puts someone at a high risk for suicide.

Suicidal Signs

Many people considering suicide display suicidal signs as a cry for help, either consciously or subconsciously. These suicide warning signs include:

  • Abusing alcohol or drugs
  • Acting impulsively
  • Appearing sad or depressed most of the time
  • Changing personality
  • Changing sleeping or eating habits
  • Displaying feelings of rage, helplessness or hopelessness
  • Exhibiting dramatic mood swings
  • Giving away possessions
  • Losing interest in daily activities
  • Performing poorly in work or at school
  • Writing a will.

If you see someone exhibiting these suicidal signs, insist that she seek help or call a suicide prevention hotline right away.

Resources

Caruso, K. (n.d.). Suicide warning signs. Retrieved June 28, 2010, from http://www.suicide.org/suicide-warning-signs.html.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2009). Suicide: Facts at a glance. Retrieved June 28, 2010, from http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/Suicide-DataSheet-a.pdf.

Dryden-Edwards, R. (2010). Suicide. Retrieved June 28, 2010, from http://www.medicinenet.com/suicide/article.htm.