Suicide among those that suffer a mental illness is far more complicated than you might think. Everyone experiences some sort of depression in their life but typically we are able to recover very quickly and return to our normal frame of mind (within a couple of weeks). These types of depression can be caused by everything from continued dreary weather to a major event in our lives such as a loss of a family member, divorce or even unexpected changes in lifestyle.
As for the common medical cause of depression, in many cases, there is a reduction in the amount of certain neurotransmitters found (monoamines such as serotonin and norepinephrine) in depressed people.
This chemical imbalance can cause an “episode” of depression. Like I say, most people will suffer a short-term event and require little if any clinical treatment.
Major Depression or Major depressive order is a whole different ball game. The onset of Major depressive order can be caused by outside influences, events or a long-term existing chemical imbalance. In simple terms, someone who suffers from major depressive disorder will experience repeated episodes of depression and the disabling effects of the symptoms that they cause.
Some of the disabling symptoms can be described by the obvious. Sadness, loss of hope, lack of self-worth an inability to believe there can be positive change and lack of motivation.
Some of the most significant symptoms that can contribute to thoughts and in some cases the act of suicide can be things like extreme changes in appetite; lack of meaningful sleep; lack of concentration; lack of short-term memory; lack of motivation, anxiety and several others. In many cases, a person that suffers these symptoms can live their daily lives in a very dark place, void of normal emotions and incentive. One of the most common triggers for thoughts of suicide is the abuse of alcohol or illegal drugs. Alcohol itself is a depressant yet it is used to numb some of the effects of depressive symptoms. An example would be using alcohol to induce sleep. In some cases a person can go several days without any meaningful sleep without help. Sleep deprivation and malnutrition play a big part in a mindset that contributes to a decision to take their own life. Suicide is not a cowardly act. Most who contemplate or commit suicide don’t have the capacity at the time to consider the effects on others. The goal is to stop the pain and suffering by any means possible.
Isolation, unrealistic perception of reality and the expectation of failure don’t necessarily appear in the outward behavior of this very dangerous condition. In other words it is very difficult to help when there are not outward signs. People who suffer can put on a happy face and as it has been said, those who suffer have a heightened capacity to convey more practical thinking. Also, people who commit suicide do not normally act out their plans after communicating them to someone else.
There is no cure for major depressive disorder as is the same case of many mental conditions. Medical and psychological treatment is really the only way for most to be able to function and cope on a daily basis. Without treatment, the statistics show a very high risk of suicide or destructive behavior. Physical conditions such as liver damage, diabetes and neurological maladies such as seasonal affective disorder can make the situation worse.
Major depressive order does not consider a person’s lifestyle, celebrity or culture.
Unfortunately, combat soldiers are susceptible at a much larger rate than others. Most people can not imagine having to take another person’s life just to defend yourself and your country. Since treatment is the only way to cope, we must provide efficient access to medical and mental treatment.
At the end of the day, a person who suffers suicidal thoughts but doesn’t have a plan to carry it out, have a good chance to be treated. The same goes for someone who has made plans to end their lives. In this case, they would have to make a decision to seek help on their own which can be statistically improbable, this is why suicides are carried out so often.
The truth is having people like celebrities end their own life can be important in bringing the conversation to the kitchen table.
My comments are made up from many sources I have researched over the years. Being involved with a family member who suffers, I consider myself very well versed on this subject.