The 4 Factors That Increase The Risk Of Suicide

Crying man.

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that suicide and its attempts are one of the most serious health problems we face in the 21st century. In Spain, an average of 10 people commit suicide a day, being the first cause of death among young men between 15 and 29 years old. Suicides double the number of fatalities resulting from traffic accidents (in 2015 there were 3,602 suicides in Spain).

We see many campaigns by the Government to control and reduce the number of victims behind the wheel, but how many times do those people who have deliberately decided to take their own lives appear in the media? It seems that denying the existence of the problem 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 suicidal ideation at some point in their lives. Completed suicides are more common in men, but suicide attempts are more common among women (APA, 2003).

But how can we be able to reduce the number of people who commit suicide? Is there a way to prevent it? Many studies have been carried out along these lines, in order to identify through the scientific method which are the risk factors that determine a greater probability of committing suicide. These risk factors normally have an additive effect, although sometimes they interact synergistically.

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We are going to divide the risk factors into four subgroups: psychiatric disorders, previous attempts, genetic factors and other factors

1. Psychiatric disorders

Within the group of people who commit suicide, 80-85% present depression, substance abuse or schizophrenia. Furthermore, mental disorders are associated with more than 90% of completed suicide cases. Some psychiatric disorders are associated with an increased risk of suicide They stand out among them:

1. 1. Depression

People who have major depression have a 20 times greater risk of suicide compared to the general population. Within this population it has been seen that those people with severe anhedonia, insomnia, obsessive-compulsive personality traits and with high hopelessness they present a greater risk of killing themselves.

1.2. Substance abuse or dependence

There is a 15 times greater risk of suicide. In this group those people who have also recently suffered a breakup They have a higher risk, along with the presence of associated depressive symptoms.

1.3. Schizophrenia

Within this group they present up to 9 times more likely to end their own life If the person with schizophrenia also has depression, obsessive-compulsive traits and shows a negative attitude towards treatment, the risk increases.

1.4. Bipolar disorder

Quiwenes who have been diagnosed with this disorder have a 15 times greater probability of suicide risk in relation to the general population.

1.5. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

It has been seen that those people with PTSD who have intense feelings of guilt They are more likely to commit suicide.

1.6. Borderline Personality Disorder

They have a risk of suicide 4-8 times higher than the general population. The impulsivity that characterizes this group of people can increase the risk of suicide

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1.7. Antisocial Behavior

In these cases, if they are associated with substance abuse and have an affective disorder (poor affective regulation), it is more risky for them to commit suicide.

It should be noted that the risk of suicide It increases even more if there is comorbidity between two of the aforementioned disorders For example, there would be a very high risk if a person with schizophrenia was experiencing major depression.

2. Previous attempts

The most powerful risk factor for suicide of all is the previous attempts made by the person. The more times you have tried it, the more likely it is that you will be able to try it again in the future Furthermore, the risk is greater if a series of additional variables are taken into account (APA, 2003):

  • If previous attempts have been serious.
  • If there has been an intense desire to die
  • If the person has tried to avoid detection (e.g. by making sure that no one would be home at that time).
  • If especially lethal methods have been used causing considerable physical damage.

3. Genetic factors

In some studies it has been seen that there seems to be a genetic factor for suicide, although much remains to be investigated in this area. Exists greater concordance for suicide and suicide attempts among univiteline twins

Furthermore, it seems that there is a greater risk of suicide among biological relatives than in families with adopted children who exhibit suicidal behavior. It is very important for the health professional to carefully evaluate the family psychiatric history.

4. Other associated factors

Some elements that increase the risk of suicide are:

  • Being single or divorced
  • Loss of job and being over 50 years old.
  • Have few financial resources.
  • Low educational level
  • Homosexual or bisexual orientation.
  • Suffer gender violence.
  • Immigration with uprooting
  • Little social support and social isolation.
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The need to take preventive measures

It is necessary social awareness about the risk of suicide to be able to respond: more training in suicide detection and prevention, more professionals specialized in the subject, and more awareness talks for all ages. In this sense, the main objective should be to detect this danger in time and provide these people with the psychological care they require.

Suicide is said to be an eternal solution to what is often no more than a temporary problem. suicide can be presented as a permanent solution to intense pain to a suffering that seems endless.

In fact, people who want to commit suicide do not think about simply dying, but rather about escaping from the intense suffering that they believe will always last, and they consider suicide as the only way to stop suffering. But although it may not seem like it, Hopelessness, pain and emptiness are temporary states, not permanent ones

If you have read this article and know someone who may have suicidal ideation, try approaching that person with empathy and offering support, it can mean a big change for that person.