Suicidal Ideation Overview
Mental health issues and disorders are more common than most of us tend to be aware of, owing to life's general pressures. Individuals suffering from stress or having mental and physical health breakdowns can resort to progressive suicidal thoughts or ideation.
What is Suicidal Ideation?
Also referred to as suicidal thoughts, suicidal ideation refers to thinking about taking your own life without necessarily doing it. When a physician diagnoses you with suicidal ideation, it means that suicidal ideas preoccupy your mind.
What Are the Types of Suicidal Ideation?
Suicidal ideation can either be active or passive. Here's the difference:
Active Suicidal Ideation: When a person thinks about and creates a plan to take their life, with the intent of actually committing suicide.
Passive Suicidal Ideation: When a person has suicidal thoughts without having any actual plans to commit suicide.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Suicidal Ideation?
An individual with suicidal ideation may have the following symptoms:
- Extreme mood swings or shifts
- Isolation from other people
- Hopelessness and feeling trapped
- Frequently mentioning death and suicide during conversations
- An increase in substance use
- Indulging in risky behaviors like drugs and unsafe sexual activities
- Extreme anxiety
- Giving away possessions
- Treating people as if saying goodbye, and
- Preparing for suicide or seeking the means to end your life like a weapon or medication.
How is Suicidal Ideation Diagnosed?
Suicidal thoughts are an indication of an existing problem. Therefore, it is advisable to seek help promptly from a friend or family member, spiritual leaders, professional therapists, or support groups when a person close to you develops these thoughts.
Upon visiting a healthcare facility, the doctor will ask questions to assess how dire the situation is. Examples of questions are:
- How long have you had suicidal thoughts?
- Is there a history of depression in your family?
- Do you have a history of depression?
- What is the extent of the suicidal thoughts?
- Do you have a plan to take your life?
- What medications are you currently taking?
- Do you use alcohol or drugs, and if so, how frequently?
Your doctor may require you to fill out a questionnaire for further diagnosis and to help determine the best treatment method or approach.
What Are the Risk Factors for Suicidal Ideation?
Some risk factors of suicidal ideation include:
- Mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, stress, PTSD, and bipolar disorder
- Family history of suicide
- Alcohol and substance abuse
- Challenges or difficult struggles
- Immense grief
- Previous suicide attempt, and
- Chronic pain or terminal illnesses causing hopelessness
When Should You Ask for Help with Suicidal Ideation?
Suicidal thoughts don't come abruptly. They begin with mild symptoms such as mood swings and increased alcohol use and can build to giving away possessions and completely self-isolation. Suicidal thoughts are scary. It is advisable to get help when you start having persistent thoughts and a plan about ending your life.
What Therapies Are Available For Suicidal Ideation?
Medication and therapy sessions can help you deal with suicidal ideation. However, a physician or therapist may try several treatments before finding the suitable medication and dosage, depending on the severity of your condition.
With psychotherapy, mental health professionals engage with you on a one-on-one basis and teach you how to take charge or suppress suicidal thoughts, treat an underlying condition, or other suicidal ideation triggers like substance abuse.
MidValley Healthcare is Here to Help!
Your mental health is essential, which is why it's imperative to find a trusted, experienced provider to guide you through symptoms of suicidal ideation. At MidValley Healthcare, we value your health. We provide professional help, treatment, and FDA-approved TMS therapy for mental health issues in a safe and supportive environment. Please contact us today for an appointment. You can also visit our blog for more information, resources, and tips regarding mental health.