NOTE: If you are in danger of harming yourself or taking your life, please dial the National Suicide Hotline at 988!
You may have found yourself wondering if life is worth living, imagining what it might be like to die, or thinking about how much easier it would be to not be alive. You know that people with depression are much more likely to be suicidal, but you have all the energy you need, your mood isn’t especially low, and no one thinks of you as a sad person. Even though you don’t fit the description of someone who’s depressed, you may still be suicidal.
What is Depression?
Depression is a widespread and severe medical condition that negatively influences your feelings, thoughts, and actions. Thankfully, it also can be treated. If you’re depressed, you may be sad or lose interest in things you used to enjoy doing and, eventually, have a range of psychological and physical problems that affect your quality of life and how you function at work and home.
Does Depression Lead to Suicide?
According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, most suicides are related to a psychiatric disorder, but some triggers portend someone taking their own life. “However, anxiety, personality-, eating-, trauma-related disorders, and organic mental disorders also contribute.”
Although the majority of people with depression don’t die by suicide, having severe depression does increase the risk of suicide.
New data on depression from long-time observation periods proposes that about 2% of those treated for depression on an outpatient basis will die by suicide. For those treated inpatient, death by suicide jumps to 4%. People treated for depression on an inpatient basis who have a history of suicidal thoughts or attempts are nearly three times as likely to commit suicide (6%) compared to those treated as outpatients. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, gender identification plays a role when considering the lifetime risk of suicide in someone with depression. Data suggests that about 7% of men who’ve been depressed most of their lives will die by suicide, compared to 1 percent of women with a life-long history of depression.
There is an obvious link between depression and suicide risk, as it’s estimated that nearly 60% of people who commit suicide have experienced a mood disorder. Substance abuse disorder also plays a factor, particularly among younger people suffering from depression.
The question remains: Can you be suicidal without having depression? Yes. Many factors can increase the risk of someone who isn’t depressed attempting suicide.
Jason Manning, Associate Professor of Sociology at West Virginia University, points to several other reasons someone may die by suicide, including:
- Financial issues, loss of income or employment, rising debts, plummeting rates of return on retirement accounts, and many others. According to the American Public Health Association, suicide rates increase during a poor economy.
- Shame due to gossip and scandal.
- The risk of suicide may also increase because of fractured relationships. According to the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, a study of 400,000 Americans indicated the risk of suicide doubled in the case of divorce.
- Strife and social conflict.
Yes, you can be suicidal without being depressed. As we’ve already seen, situations and events can influence someone’s decision to commit suicide. But what else can play a part? Someone may be driven to suicide by intoxication because they have access to firearms, have a serious or long-term health condition, experience long-term stress, and many other factors.
Suicide is a serious public health risk that shouldn’t be ignored. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12.2 million people thought about suicide in 2020, 3.2 million planned suicide, and 1.2 million attempted suicide. Of those numbers, more than 46,000 people took their own lives.
To reduce the risk of suicide, it’s essential to watch for critical warning signs:
- Increased use of alcohol and drugs
- Self-isolation from family, friends, and community
- Intense mood changes
- Reckless or risky behavior
- Increased stress
- Significant life changes
If you’re suffering from suicidal ideation, there are online resources that may be able to help, such as the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. Ketamine therapy is also a powerful treatment option to consider. Ketamine has been shown to reduce, if not erase, suicidal ideation in many patients within days. If you’re looking for relief from suicidal ideation or depression, contact us today to learn how we can help!