What is Suicidal Ideation?

Suicidal ideation is when a person has suicidal thoughts. It means having the thoughts of taking one’s own life without having a specific plan. Many people have thoughts of suicide and do not go on to have a suicide attempt although it is a risk factor. However, Suicidal Ideation is serious and should be treated as a potentially dangerous behavior.

 

What Causes Suicidal Self-Ideation?

In many people suicidal ideation is often cause by a sudden or unexpected and negative change in one’s life circumstances.

Suicidal ideation is also part of many mental illnesses including Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, and drug and alcohol abuse.  Illegal drug use may provoke suicidal ideation, and some anxiety disorders can produce suicidal thoughts.  In rare cases suicidal thoughts are associated with medication side effects.

 

Signs and Symptoms of Suicidal Ideation

The primary symptom of Suicidal Ideation is having thoughts of wanting to kill oneself.

Some other signs and symptoms of Suicidal Ideations are:

  • Depression
  • Alcohol or drug addiction
  • Mental illness

Suicidal warning signs or suicidal thoughts include:

  • Talking about suicide
  • Obtaining the means to commit suicide (i.e buying a gun)
  • Social withdrawal
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Preoccupation with death and dying
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Writing a suicide note
  • Feeling hopeless or helpless about a situation
  • Increased use of drugs and alcohol
  • A change in normal routines of eating and sleeping
  • Significant weight change
  • Engaging in risky and dangerous behaviors
  • Giving away belongings when there is no logical reason why
  • Saying good bye ot people as if you will never see them again

 

Suicidal ideation and warning signs are not always obvious and vary from person to person, that is why it is imperative to seek professional help.

 

What Does Suicidal Ideation Treatment Entail

When a person is experiencing Suicidal Ideation a prompt and immediate evaluation by a professional is necessary.  Any suicidal gesture should be treated as serious.  Options include going to an emergency room or calling a suicide hotline.

Treatment for Suicidal Ideation varies based on the level of dangerousness and safety threat assessed to be present. Treatment options vary from following up with a mental health professional on an outpatient basis to medication management, and for some it includes inpatient hospitalization to ensure the safety of the person in a contained environment. Several antianxiety medications, antidepressants medications, and medications that address issues related to anger have been known to help.

 

How Do I Get Started?

The best place to start is by participating in an evaluation.  Going to your nearest Emergency Room or calling a Suicide Hotline can be good first steps.  If the person has been assessed as appropriate for outpatient care by a mental health professional we can help. We can help diagnose suicidal ideation, recommend a specific interventions and answer questions about the process.

If you have questions, and would like to speak to one of our mental health professionals, call or email today.