What Causes People To Attempt Suicide And How It Can Be Recognised?

Among psychological problems, depression is the main factor which usually leads to suicide attempts. Besides depression, there are personality disorders like antisocial or borderline personality with traits of impulsivity.

With Bollywood star Sushant Singh Rajput dying by suicide, people are again talking about factors that force people to take such extreme steps. According to Dr R P Beniwal – Senior Psychiatrist and Associate professor, Department of Psychiatry, Centre of excellence in Mental health, Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of medical sciences & Dr RML Hospital – the main factor for suicidal risk is a psychiatric diagnosis. The doctor also said that people from the 20-28 age group and then that above 60-year are more vulnerable to committing suicide.

“People having physiological or mental problems tend to attempt and commit suicide. 90 per cent causes of suicide come under psychiatric illness. It should be highlighted that though every act of suicide is associated with psychological distress but not everyone has a psychological problem. However it is ultimately related to psychological distress,” he said.

“Among psychological problems, depression is the main factor which usually leads to suicide attempts. Besides depression, there are personality disorders like antisocial or borderline personality with traits of impulsivity. You know sometimes suicide may be committed or attempted under the impulsive act,” he added.

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The third main cause of suicide is substance dependence like alcoholism or the use of drugs. Any person with the previous history of suicidal attempt or self-harm is prone to take extreme steps. If there is a family history, then they become more vulnerable.

Risk Factor For Suicide

“For one suicide committed, 25 people make suicide attempts. So in other words we can explain that the committed suicide is not the first attempt. There may be many more history of attempts before the person actually kills himself. People who once attempt a suicide have chance of committing it again in the future so we should be careful with vulnerable people. Among psychiatric disorders, 50 per cent of the cause of suicide is due to depression ( mood disorders), 10 per cent Psychotic disorder and 15-20 per cent is because of anxiety disorder. Substance disorder is the cause of 25-50 per cent suicides. A personality disorder is responsible for 5 per cent,” Dr Beniwal said.

Chronic medical illness likes AIDS, cancer, etc also causes people to commit suicide.

Adverse childhood experience is also a cause of suicide. If a person having a history of adverse childhood days like mental trauma, sexual harassment, physical harassment then the chances of suicidal attempts increase 10 times in their adulthood.

dr rp beniwal
Dr R P Beniwal – Senior Psychiatrist at RML Hospital.

Marital disharmony, employment status, poverty, domestic violence, discrimination, and cultural and religious beliefs are also contributing to suicidal attempts.

Warning signs of suicide

We can always notice changes in behaviour that can be warning signs. Like in adolescent, behaviour of self-harm or wrist cutting are some of the signs. You should be vigilant if someone is having a history of suicidal attempts. Also, unexpected improvement should also be monitored as it usually takes a month to fully recover. Giving away your valued possession all of sudden is also a warning sign.

Protective factors of Suicide:

A sense of responsibility is a protective factor as if you have a family or joint family you will think that my family will suffer because of this step. If you have a kid you will avoid such a step. Strong religious believes can be a protective factor as in many religions it is considered as a sinful act. Good coping and problem-solving skills are also protective factors.

Suicide is 100 per cent preventable

We can prevent suicide and it is treatable. All types of psychiatric disorders are treatable.

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