Suicide is the primary emergency for a medical health personnel. Out of six lakhs suicide attempts, over 30000 persons die per year.
‘Suicide’ is derived from the Latin word for ‘self-murder.’ It is a final act that represents the person’s wish to die. There is a time frame in between thinking about suicide, and acting it out. Some persons get the idea but will never act on it, some plan for days, weeks, or even years before acting it out, others take their lives seemingly on impulse, without a lot of thought. Lost in definition are intentional misclassification of cause of death, accidents of undermine cause and so called chronic suicides. For example: death through alcohol and other substance abuse, consciously poor adherence to medical regimes for diabetes, obesity and hypertension.
Four times more men commit suicides than women. However women are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide than men. Men’s rate of completed suicide are higher because of the methods they use like firearms, hanging or jumping from heights. Women more commonly take an over dose of psychoactive substances or poison. Globally the most common method of suicide is hanging. Suicide rate increases with age and underscores the significance of a midlife crisis. Among men suicide peaks after 45 and women after 55. Suicide rate however is rising more rapidly among the young males and females in between the age of 15-25 due to parental pressure. Singles, divorced, never married, widowers, widows are more prone to commit suicide .Persons who commit a so called anniversary suicide, take their life on the day a member of the family died. Unemployment is another risk factor. In doctors it is anesthetists followed by psychiatrists who are highest.
Climate also has impact that is why suicide belt mostly includes Scandavian cuntries(European). Physical health like cancer, HIV increases the risk. Among mental illnesses, suicide is high in schizophrenics, depressive disorders, dementia, delirium, alcohol and other drugs. In personality disorders suicide attempts are common.
Causes can be social factors like peer pressures and stress. Psychological factors of sensitive people, people who can’t control themselves, teenagers who yield to other pressures like what is happening today, in case of deaths reported due to the blue whale challenge can also be factors. Neurotransmitters that are related to suicide and depression is Serotonin. Suicide runs in families also (genetic factor). ‘Para –Suicidal’ is a term introduced to describe patients who injure themselves through self mutilation, example cutting the skin, but usually they do not wish to die.
Suicide is increasing in younger generation due to influence of social media, peer pressure, alcohol and drug usage.
To prevent suicide in the society, everybody has to observe their family member’s, classmate’s and colleague’s behavioral changes. Usually the person who wants to commit suicide will always give hints to their near and dear ones. So once you notice something strange, talk to them empathetically and approach a psychiatrist.
Treatment can be done with anti depressants, cognitive behavioral therapy, psychotherapy and electro convulsive therapy (shock treatment) in severely depressed persons.
The writer is a consultant
psychiatrist at KIMS Hospitals, Secunderabad