MNAS Clinic: Dr. Roshita Khare - Consultant Psychiatrist & Sexologist

Suicidal Behavior

Psychiatric Disorder

Suicidal Behavior

Suicide, or the act of taking one’s own life, is an all-too-common and tragic public health crisis, often done in response to overwhelming, unbearable emotional pain. Suicide is especially tragic as it is a preventable death and leaves behind many loved ones and family members, also called “suicide survivors,” who must grieve this terrible loss. Suicidal ideation, or suicidal thoughts are a lot more common than most people let on – in fact, most people have thought about suicide at one point or another. These thoughts are quite troubling, especially as they’re usually accompanied by a mental illness such as depression or bipolar disorder. Suicidal ideation is broken down into two forms: active and passive. Active suicidal ideation involves an existing wish to die accompanied by a plan for how to carry out the death. Passive suicidal ideation involves a desire to die, but without a specific plan for carrying out the death.

A person with suicidal ideation may not ask for help. However, that does not mean help is not needed or wanted. Many people who die by suicide do not actually wish for death – they only want the pain to go away. Prevention of suicide begins with recognizing the warning signs of suicidal behaviors and taking action.

Most people who are experiencing suicidal ideations do give off warning signs that they’re intending to die by suicide. The best way to prevent this tragedy is to recognize and act upon any warning signs that a loved one or family member is considering death by suicide. The most common warning symptoms and signs of suicidal thoughts and behaviors include:

Treating Suicidal Behavior An Effective Time-Limited Approach

Behavioral symptoms

  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Talking about death, dying
  • Using phrases such as “when I’m gone…” or “I’m going to kill myself”
  • Getting affairs in order
  • Saying goodbye to loved ones
  • Obtaining items needed for suicide attempt
  • Decreased social contact
  • Increasing drug and alcohol usage
  • Withdrawing from once-pleasurable activities
  • Increased risky behaviors

Physical symptoms

  • Scars or injuries from past suicide attempts
  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Chronic and/or terminal illness

Cognitive symptoms

  • Preoccupation with death and dying
  • Belief that dying by suicide is the only way to end emotional pain

Psychosocial symptoms

  • Feeling helpless; trapped by emotional pain
  • Psychosis
  • Self-loathing
  • Hopelessness
  • Paranoia
  • Intense emotional pain
  • Feeing hopeless about a situation
  • Mood swings
  • Sudden changes in personality
  • Severe anxiety and agitation