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Suicides: data, statistics and associated mental disorders

Suicides: data, statistics and associated mental disorders

December 5, 2021

Suicide is the act of deliberately removing one's life. Suicidal behavior is any action that could lead a person to die.

Suicide, the first cause of unnatural death in Spain

Suicide is the first cause of unnatural death in Spain . There are twice as many suicides as there are deaths due to traffic accidents. In Spain there are 10 deaths per daily suicide. However, the rate is low compared to other countries in the European Union. Almost 4,000 people died in 2014 for this reason within the Spanish borders. 20% more incidence with respect to the data recorded in 2007 .

There are societies where it is more acceptable, such as in Japan, and others less. In the countries of the South, with a strong cultural component that drinks from the Catholic religion, suicide is very frowned upon.


Why does someone decide to end their own life?

Frequently, these people are trying to get away from a life situation that seems impossible to manage . In the suicide attempt they are seeking relief. They often feel embarrassed, guilty or as a burden to others. They feel victims, and have feelings of rejection, loss or loneliness. In the suicide attempts, cries for help are usually reflected.

Among the possible symptoms is the difficulty of concentrating or thinking clearly, having self-destructive behaviors (making cuts in the body, drinking too much alcohol), getting away from friends or not wanting to go out and / or changing eating or sleeping habits.


The psychological profile of the person who tries to commit suicide

These people often do not seek help because they believe that nothing is going to help them, because they do not want to tell anyone they have problems, because they think that seeking help is a sign of weakness. In other cases, they do not seek help because they do not know where to go so that someone comes to help them out. You have to bear in mind that a person who is thinking about committing suicide has a personal and family history behind, as well as a certain psychological predisposition . Suicide is not an isolated event, there is not a single cause. It is something multifactorial.

There are triggers, but it is clear that the decision is not made "only" because the boyfriend has left you or because you have lost your job. If so, we would not have tried to commit suicide at some point. Suicide attempts may be motivated by a mixture of genetic and environmental factors . There is no profile of the person who tries to take his own life and, therefore, it is not easy to predict suicidal behavior.


Recurrence, one of the risk factors

A third of the people who have tried to commit suicide will try again in the period of one year . 10% of people who threaten or attempt suicide finally take their own lives. It is not an act of selfishness or cowardice, it is the outcome of a process.

According to experts, when someone executes the decision to commit suicide (that is, second before performing the action) in the person a "short-circuit" reaction occurs, it could be said that he suffers "transient mental alienation" where "the survival instinct fails "

Suicide and associated mental disorders (comorbidity)

The person who decides to commit suicide does not have to show any mental disorder. However, it is true that 90% of suicide attempts are usually based on a mental disorder or some incurable condition.

1. Depression

The most common mental disorder in cases of suicide is undoubtedly depression. Depression is a powerful predictor of suicide attempts and suicides carried out, consummated . However, research shows that between 13% and 40% of people who commit suicide do not meet the diagnostic criteria for Major Depression Disorder.

There is evidence that the risk of suicide can sometimes increase as depression subsides. This may be because people with severe depression begin to experience improvement and a return of energy. During this period of time, called the "window period", the patient is still depressed but with enough energy to carry out a suicide attempt. However, this does not mean that a deeply depressed person is out of danger.

2. Drug addiction, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder ...

Around 10% have other diagnoses, such as substance use disorder (eg, alcoholism), schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder or bipolar disorder.Patients with borderline personality disorder, for example, with or without depression, are twice as likely to attempt suicide as patients diagnosed with depression alone.

3. Suicides due to 'subclinical' causes

Between 5% and 10% of people do not have any identifiable mental disorder . We assume that they probably suffer from "subclinical symptoms", that is, they present some symptoms of one or more mental disorders but the diagnostic criteria are not fully met.

Beyond psychopathology: "rational suicides"

It has been found, however, that an undetermined number of people commit what experts have called "rational suicide" . In these cases, suicide is a decision prepared to end one's life, often due to an incurable disease.

As final data, in l In most cases of women with suicidal behaviors, the search to end one's life is usually due to an affective theme . On the other hand, those who die by suicide are rather men, mainly elderly and with some mental or medical pathology. This is reflected in the statistics.

In general, men commit suicide are three times more than women , but it is also known that women try to commit suicide three times more than men because they refer higher levels of stress and anxiety. With this, we do not mean that they just want to get attention. Is not true. They want to kill themselves, but they can not do it.

The methods and systems most used to commit suicide

The method chosen to try to take his own life predicts the "success" of subsequent attempts. Among the most commonly used methods is hanging (used by half of suicides in Spain and mostly men).

The second most used method is the jump to emptiness chosen by a large number of women. The third option is poisoning due to substance use. The "favorite" month for suicides is June.

Suicide in the world

Suicide is an individual action, but there are countries where it is culturally more accepted than in others. For different reasons, such as economic, social and cultural, there are countries where the suicide rate is much higher than in others . You can check it on the following map.

A taboo subject

Suicide is still a taboo subject in our country , and in many others. It supposes a failure as a system, political, social, sanitary, legal and even cultural. And yet, we still have little data and information about him. Because it happens? What can we do? It can be avoided? These are some of the questions we are still trying to solve.


We need to talk about male suicide | Steph Slack | TEDxFolkestone (December 2021).


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