Suicides: Facts, Statistics And Associated Mental Disorders

A complete report on the causes, not only psychological, of suicides.

The  suicide is the act of deliberately take his own life. Suicidal behavior is any action that could lead a person to die.

Suicide, the leading cause of unnatural death in Spain

Suicide is the leading cause of unnatural death in Spain. There are twice as many suicides as there are deaths from traffic accidents. In Spain there are 10 deaths by suicide daily. However, the rate is low compared to other countries in the European Union. Almost 4,000 people died in 2014 for this reason within the Spanish borders. 20% more incidence compared to the data registered in 2007.

There are societies where it is more acceptable, such as Japan, and others less. In southern countries, with a strong cultural component that draws on the Catholic religion, suicide is frowned upon.

Why does someone decide to end their own life?

Often times these people are trying to get away from a life situation that seems impossible to handle. In the suicide attempt they are seeking relief. They tend to feel ashamed, guilty or like a burden to others. They feel victims, and have feelings of rejection, loss, or  loneliness. Shouts for help are often reflected in suicide attempts.

Possible symptoms include difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly, engaging in self-destructive behaviors (cutting your body, drinking excess alcohol), staying away from friends or not wanting to go out, and / or changing eating or sleeping habits.

The psychological profile of the person attempting suicide

These people, on many occasions, do not seek help because they believe that nothing is going to help them, because they do not want to tell anyone that they have problems, because they think that seeking help is a sign of weakness. In other cases, they do not seek help because they do not know where to turn for someone to help them out. It must be taken into account that a person who is thinking about committing suicide has a personal and family history behind him, as well as a certain psychological predisposition. Suicide is not an isolated event, there is no single cause. It is multifactorial.

There are triggers, but it is clear that the decision is not made “just” because your boyfriend / girlfriend left you or because you lost your job. If so, we all would not have attempted suicide at some point. Suicide attempts can be motivated by a mix of genetic and environmental factors. There is no profile of the person attempting to kill themselves and therefore it is not easy to predict suicidal behavior.

Recidivism, one of the risk factors

One third of people who have attempted suicide will try again within a year. 10% of people who threaten or attempt suicide eventually take their own life. It is not an act of selfishness or cowardice, it is the outcome of a process.

According to experts, when someone executes the decision to commit suicide (that is, second before taking the action) a “short circuit” reaction occurs in the person, it could be said that they suffer “transitory mental derangement” where “the survival instinct fails ”.

Suicide and associated mental disorders (comorbidity)

The person who decides to commit suicide does not have to show any  mental disorder. However, it is true that 90% of suicide attempts are usually based on some mental disorder or some incurable condition.

1. Depression

The most common mental disorder in suicide cases is undoubtedly  depression. Depression is a powerful predictor of suicide attempts and completed, completed suicides. However, research shows that between 13% and 40% of people who commit suicide do not meet the diagnostic criteria for Major Depression Disorder.

There is evidence that the risk of suicide can sometimes increase as depression subsides. This may be because people with severe depression begin to experience improvement and a return of energy. During this period of time, called the “window period,” the patient is still depressed but has enough energy to make a suicide attempt. However, this does not mean that a deeply depressed person is out of danger.

2. Drug addiction, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder …

About 10% have other diagnoses such as substance use disorder (eg, alcoholism),  schizophrenia ,  borderline personality disorder, or  bipolar disorder. Patients with borderline personality disorder, for example, either with or without depression, are twice as likely to attempt suicide as patients diagnosed with depression alone.

3. Suicides from ‘subclinical’ causes

Between 5% and 10% of people have no identifiable mental disorder. We assume that they probably have “subclinical symptoms,” that is, they have some symptoms of one or more mental disorders but the diagnostic criteria are not fully met.

Beyond psychopathology: “rational suicides”

However, it has been found that an unknown number of people commit what experts have called “rational suicide”. In these cases, suicide is a decision prepared to end one’s life, often due to an incurable disease.

As final data, l ost cases of women with suicidal behavior, seeking to end the life usually due to an emotional issue. On the other hand, those who die by suicide are rather men, mainly older and with some mental or medical pathology. This is reflected in the statistics. 

In general, men commit suicide three times more than women, but it is also known that women attempt suicide three times more than men because they report higher levels of stress and anxiety. By this, we do not mean that they just want to attract attention. Is not true. They want to commit suicide, but they can’t.

The most used methods and systems to commit suicide

The method chosen to attempt suicide predicts the “success” of subsequent attempts. Among the most used methods is hanging first (used by half of the suicides in Spain and mostly men).

The second most used method is the jump into the void chosen by a large number of women. The third option is substance use poisoning. The “favorite” month for suicide bombers is June.

Suicide in the world

Suicide is an individual action, but there are countries where it is more culturally accepted than in others. For different reasons, such as economic, social and cultural, there are countries where the suicide rate is much higher than in others. You can check it on the following map.

A taboo subject

Suicide continues to be a taboo subject in our country, and in many others. It supposes a failure as a system, both political, social, health, legal and even cultural. And yet we still have little data and information about him. Because it happens? What can we do? It can be avoided? These are some of the questions that we continue to try to solve. 

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