The act of killing or trying to harm oneself is called suicide. It is an action against the basic instinct to survive &procreate which makes this subject interesting.Suicide is exclusively almost seen only in the human species and it’s known since immemorial time.
Suicide is the outcome of neurobiological breakdown. The process begins in severe stress and
Pain generated by a serious life crisis. Suicide occurs when the stress induces unbearable pain that feelings of self control and self-esteem are weakened & death is seen as the only relief.
Suicidality entails changes in brain chemistry and physiology and imbalance in serotonin levels. Parasuicidal behaviour is seen when there are attempts to deliberately harm self to gain attention.
Suicide is on the rise in this century, 258,075 people committed suicide in India in 2012. India's suicide rate was 21.1 per 100,000 people, according to WHO.
Psychology of Suicide:
Menninger believed that suicide is inverted homicide. Generally aggression is directed outward, at a person or an object. But when directed inward, it becomes suicide. Freud believed on similar lines but with the parameters of life force- Eros & death force- Thanatos.
Suicide Warning Signs: F.A.C.T.
F for Feelings:
- Hopelessness “It will never get any better.”“There’s nothing anyone can do.”
- Fear of losing control, fear of going crazy, fear of harming oneself or others.
- Helplessness, a feeling that “no one cares,”“everyone would be better off without me.”
- Overwhelming guilt, shame,self-hatred.
- Pervasive sadness
A for Actions or Events
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Themes of death or destruction in talk or written materials (letters, notes)
- Recent loss through death, divorce, end of relationship, separation, loss of job, money, status, pride, self-esteem.
- Loss of religious faith or spirituality
- Agitation, restlessness
- Aggression, recklessness
C for Change .
- In personality - more withdrawn, tired,apathetic, indecisive or more boisterous, talkative, outgoing. Different temperament than usual.
- In thoughts - can’t concentrate on schoolwork,routine tasks, etc.
- In sleep patterns - oversleeping, excessive sleeping, insomnia
- In eating habits - loss of appetite, weight gain/loss, overeating, change in eating rituals
- In activities - loss of interest in friends,hobbies, personal grooming, or other activities
- Sudden improvement after a period of being down or withdrawn, “too euphoric”
T for Threats
- Statements, e.g., “How long does it take to bleed to death?”
- Threats, e.g., “I won’t be around much longer.”
- Plans, e.g., putting affairs in order, giving away favorite things, obtaining a weapon.
- Gestures, or attempts, e.g., overdose, wrist cutting.
In India,suicide was illegal and survivor would face jail term of up to one year and fine under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code but Government of India decided to repeal the law in 2014.
If you have ever had suicidal thoughts or you know someone who has, the first thing you need to do is accept that it is possible to feel that way. Denial can only lead to more repression & a further bigger outburst of events. Secondly, talk to someone about it. It could be your family, friends, colleague or a psychiatrist. And always when you feel things are going out of your control, don’t be ashamed to ask for help. These are few ways that suicidal ideas can be identified early & can be addressed. Electro convulsive therapy is the gold standard treatment of suicide. Supportive psychotherapy is required in each case.
- Reducing social isolation,
- Preventing social disintegration,
- Treating mental disorders by Psychiatrist
- Banning of pesticides & ropes
Additionally, a set of state led policies are being enforced to decrease the high suicide rate among farmers of Karnataka and Maharashtra.