The World Health Organization (WHO) declares suicide and its attempts to be one of the most serious health problems we face in the 21st century. In Spain, an average of ten people commit suicide a day, Being the leading cause of death among young men aged 15-29. Suicides double the number of deaths from traffic accidents (in 2015 there were 3,602 suicides in Spain).
We see many government campaigns to control and reduce the number of victims behind the wheel, but how often do these people who have deliberately decided to kill themselves appear in the media? It seems that denying that the problem exists is not a good strategy. That is why it is necessary to know the factors that increase the risk of suicide.
Factors that increase the risk of suicide
According to the APA (2003), 13.5% of the general American population has had thoughts of suicide at some point in their lives. Suicides consumed are more common in men, but suicide attempts are more common in women (APA, 2003).
But how can we reduce the number of people who commit suicide? Is there a way to prevent it? Many studies have been carried out in this direction, in order to identify by the scientific method which are the risk factors which determine a higher probability of suicide. These risk factors usually have an additive effect, although they sometimes interact synergistically.
We will divide the risk factors into four subgroups: psychiatric disorders, previous attempts, genetic factors and other factors.
1. Psychiatric disorders
In the group of people who commit suicide, 1 80 to 85% suffer from depression, drug addiction or schizophrenia. In addition, mental disorders are associated with over 90% of suicides consumed. Certain psychiatric disorders they are associated with an increased risk of suicide. These include:
1. 1. Depression
People with major depression have a 20 times higher probability of suicide risk than the general population. Within this population, we have seen that these people with severe anhedonia, insomnia, obsessive-compulsive personality traits and with great despair, they present a greater risk of suicide.
1.2. Drug addiction or dependence
The risk of suicide is 15 times higher. In this group, those the people who have suffered most from a recent breakup present a higher risk, as well as the presence of associated depressive symptoms.
Within this group, they present up to 9 times more likely to end their own life. If the person with the most schizophrenia has depression, obsessive-compulsive traits, and shows a negative attitude towards treatment, the risk increases.
1.4. Bipolar disorder
People who have been diagnosed with this disorder have a 15 times higher likelihood of suicide risk compared to the general population.
1.5. Post-traumatic stress disorder
We have seen that these people with PTSD who have intense feelings of guilt they are more likely to kill themselves.
1.6. Borderline personality disorder
They have a 4 to 8 times higher risk of suicide than the general population. The impulsiveness that characterizes this group of people may increase the risk of suicide.
1.7. Antisocial behavior
In these cases, if they are associated with drug addiction and have an affective disorder (poor emotional regulation), they are more likely to kill themselves.
It should be noted that the risk of suicide it increases even more if there is a comorbidity between two of the above disorders. For example, there would be a very high risk if a person with schizophrenia went through major depression.
2. Previous attempts
The most powerful risk factor for suicide of all is the person’s previous attempts. The more you have tried it, the more likely you are to try again in the future. In addition, the risk is greater if a number of additional variables are taken into account (APA, 2003):
- If the previous attempts have been serious.
- If there was an intense desire to die.
- If the person tried to prevent them from finding out (for example, by making sure no one came home at that time).
- If particularly lethal methods have been used which caused considerable physical damage.
3. Genetic factors
Some studies have shown that there appears to be a genetic factor in suicide, although much remains to be done in this area. Hi greater concordance for suicide and suicide attempts between single-birth twins.
In addition, there appears to be a higher risk of suicide in birth parents than in families with adopted children who exhibit suicidal behaviors. It is very important that the healthcare professional carefully assesses the family’s psychiatric history.
4. Other associated factors
Some things that increase the risk of suicide are:
- Being single or divorced.
- Losing a job and being over 50.
- Have few financial resources.
- Low level of education.
- Homosexual or bisexual orientation.
- Suffering from gender violence.
- Immigration with uprooting.
- Little social support and social isolation.
The need to take preventive measures
it is necessary social awareness of suicide risk to be able to provide an answer: more training on suicide detection and prevention, more professionals specializing in the subject, and more awareness-raising talks for all ages. In this sense, the main objective should be to detect this danger in time and to provide these people with the psychological care they need.
Suicide is said to be an eternal solution to what is often nothing more than a temporary problem. suicide it may present itself as a permanent solution to severe pain, To a suffering that seems endless.
In fact, people who want to kill themselves do not think about dying at all, but to escape the intense suffering that they believe will last forever, and see suicide as the only way to stop suffering. But even if it doesn’t look like him, hopelessness, pain and emptiness are temporary and not permanent states.
If you have read this article and know someone who may be having thoughts of suicide, try to empathize with that person and offer support, it can be a big change for that person.