How to Tell If a Loved One is Suicidal

depressionIt can be difficult to tell if a loved one is suicidal, even though many of us may be undergoing such situations.

It is common problem that keeps increasing in occurrence in our society. We generally try to keep it out of our minds, until it affects us personally. It could be a loved one who actually completes suicide, attempts it or voices thoughts about it, or someone we fear may be at risk. Once the possibility becomes apparent, we tend to struggle to make sense of it all and figure out how to help.

The impulse to want to help is a powerful one, but in order to know whether a person actually needs it, it is important to know suicide warning signs.

Engaging in risky behavior

According to Sara Klein, senior health and fitness editor for the Huffington Post, there are certain ‘high-risk’ signs which indicate that a person may be contemplating suicide. Any sort of explicit mention would be the most obvious. Another sign would be procuring tools or items that are commonly used in suicide attempts, such as large quantities of pills, guns, knives or ropes.

A third would be engaging in high-risk behaviors that the person knows are dangerous and liable to cause injury or death such, as erratic driving, risky sexual behavior and thrill-seeking.

Gradual evolution of signs and symptoms

More often however, warning signs will be less explicit and more gradual to emerge. Long-term depression, anger or similarly negative emotional disturbances are hallmarks of a person who may be on the path to an eventual suicide attempt.

Subtle but troubling changes could include rapid weight loss or weight gain (eating disorders) as a result of unhealthy and extreme measures like starvation or binge eating, especially if the individual publicly expressed his or her desire to lose or gain weight. These are particularly changes you will want to note in your loved one. Remember the changes will not come immediately, so you have to be extremely vigilant.

General isolation, anxiety, and moodiness can all be signs that something is not going right, although they should not be interpreted too extremely by themselves, since they can be felt on occasion by people who are otherwise mentally healthy.

One of the more pressing signs which tend to take a long time to become apparent is a sense of meaninglessness in one’s life and inability to enjoy things they would normally like. Experts note  these activities often arise following a personal turmoil of some sort, such as a difficult breakup or job loss.

What can you do?

Knowing all these signs can help loved ones recognize when something is wrong and attempt to intervene in a way that is primarily supportive and non-threatening. This is important to people who may want to attempt suicide, because simply having the knowledge that there are people who care about them and who are there to listen, instead of simply telling them what to do, can go a long way to encourage them and make them re-evaluate their personal circumstances.

If you suspect that your loved one is suffering from a hidden mental disorder or even addiction, then Take the test and find out.


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