Can you be suicidal and not depressed?

In this guide we will explore the relationships between depression and suicide and whether it is pssible to be suicidal without depression.

We will also explore some reasons other than depression as to why you might be suicidal and what are some of the steps you can take to cope and manage. 

Can you be suicidal and not depressed?

Yes, you can be suicidal even if you are not depressed. Other causes of suicidal thoughts and ideation include other mental health disorders apart from suicide. Experiences of abuse, loss, substance use are also reasons why you might be feeling suicidal.

Let us take a moment to understand suicide and suicidal ideation.

Suicide

Suicide is the second leading cause of death amongst youth and thoughts of suicide tend to be overwhelming. 

People feeling suicidal see death as the only way out, they overlook the fact that suicide is a permanent, possibly unwanted, solution to the temporary state of distress. Infact, people who suriviev suicide attempts often realisize that death is not what they wanted. 

A major cause of suicide is mental illness, very commonly depression. Most people who die by suicide could have been helped if they had been treated for their mental illnesses.

Suicidal ideation or thoughts may be fleeting passive (e.g., “What if I were dead?”) thoughts  or active (e.g., thinking of ways to kill oneself, making a plan) thoughts and ruminations.

There are many signs of suicide ideation and possible attempts. Such signs include:

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself;
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose;
  • Talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain;
  • Talking about being a burden to others;
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs;
  • Acting anxious, agitated, or reckless;
  • Sleeping too little or too much;
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated;
  • Preparations for death, such as giving away possessions or acquiring a gun
  • A sudden lift in spirits in a depressed person can be a warning sign that they are planning to kill themselves.

Depression and suicide

Depression is a major risk factor for suicide. Though majority of people who have depression do not die by suicide, depression increases the risk of suicide as compared to people who do not have depression. 

The severity of the disorder inlfuences how likely a person might commit suicide. Research finds that people who have been treated for depression in inpatient settings- meaning that the severity has high- were twice as likely to commit suicde than people who were outpatients. 

There are also gender differences in risk of suicide in depression where men are more liekly to dies by suicide as compared to women because of the use of robust methods. 

Though depression increases likelihood of suicde, we have to remember hta depression might not be the only cause why people commit cuisde. People who are explosed to suicide are also more likey to attemot suicde thesmelevs. Younger people who have a substance use disorder are also likely to attempt suicde. 

Let us take a look at various other reasons why you might be suicidal without being depressed.

Some other reasons why you might be suicidal

Mental health issues

An anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, dissociative disorder or PTSD are just some other mental health diagnoses that could cause a person to have suicidal thoughts. 

These mental disorders, apart from depression, can make it extremely difficult for people to live healthy lives. The distress these mental health disorders cause can make one feel hopeless about their situation which can lead them to feel suicidal.

If you do not have depression, it is possible that you could be struggling with other mental health problems.

Experience of abuse

People who have experienced abuse can often feel shame, isolated or worthless because of what has happened to them and these feelings can lead to suicidal thoughts. 

Experiencing abuse and the emotional impact that can have on a person, can make someone more vulnerable to suicide. 

The isolation, trauma, and fears can make it difficult for someone to live a healthy and normal life. The trauma makes it especially difficult to get good sleep, trust others, engage in their lives. 

These direct effects of abuse can lead a perosn to feel hopeless and worthless and might even led them to have suicidal ideations and attempt suicide. 

Experience of loss

The loss can be that of someone close to them who has died, the break down of a relationship, or the loss of a job or opportunity that leaves a person feeling worthless are all risk factors that can cause you to have suicidal thoughts. 

When experiencing loss, grief or disappointment it can often seem as though the feelings are permanent, especially when there are no positive interventions of support systems. These feelings of hopelessness can lead you to have suicidal thoughts. 

Drug and alcohol misuse

Substance use is a major risk factor and could be a reason why you are feeling suicidal.

Research finds that when people are hungover or on a come down from taking drugs they can experience suicidal thoughts. 

Alcohol increases the chances of feeling depressed and anxious which might aggravate suicidal thoughts. If you think you may have a problem with drugs or alcohol there are supports that are available to help.

Other reasons include:

  • Cultural a beliefs, such as the belief that suicide is a noble resolution of a personal dilemma
  • Being a witness to suicide or having lost someone to suicide
  • gender identity or sexual identify that they cannot accept or is not accepted by others
  • family situation 
  • economic crisis

Steps you can take cope

Here are somethings you can do to cope with suicide and suicide ideation.

Talk to someone

Talk to someone you trust about these thoughts and the distress you are experiencing. You should never try to manage suicidal feelings on your own. 

Professional help and support from loved ones can make it easier to overcome any challenges that are causing suicidal thoughts. 

There are also numerous support groups that can help you cope with suicidal feelings- talk to your therapist about these groups or seek them out through community centers or even online. 

Eliminate access to lethal methods of suicide

Make sure that you are diligent about getting rid of any firearms, knives, or dangerous medications if you worry that you might act on suicidal thoughts.

Rope in a trusted family member or friend who can help you take stock of these items and keep them away from you since having access to these things can increase the likelihood of suicide.

Take medications as directed

Some antidepressant medications can increase the risk of having suicidal thoughts, especially when you first start taking them. 

You should never stop taking your medications or change your dosage unless your doctor tells you to do so. If you are experiencing these thoughts make sure your doctor and therapist are informed,

Avoid drugs and alcohol

Substance use is a huge risk factor when it comes to suicide. It may be tempting to turn to illegal drugs or alcohol during challenging times. 

However, doing so can make suicidal thoughts worse. It’s critical to avoid these substances when you’re feeling hopeless or thinking about suicide.

Develop positive relationships

Develop a support system that is excited to grow together- emotionally, mentally, career wise, and even in terms of their personal relationships. 

Let these positive relationships be a part of your healing and growth, tell them about what you are struggling with and seek out support. 

Cut off relationships that hurt you and shunt your growth. 

Engage in activities that give you joy and meaning

Take time to give yourself moments of your weeks and days to do things you love without any agenda to be productive. Listen to the music you want or spend time taking up hobbies that you love.

Take time to do things and experience events that give you a sense of meaning and purpose to your life. Make efforts to find career choices that allow you to experience purpose and meaning or friendshsips that allow you that.

Pay attention to warning signs

Educate yourself or work with your doctor or therapist to learn about the possible triggers for your suicidal thoughts. 

Take time to learn how to recognize the signs of danger early and decide what steps to take ahead of time- a crisis strategy such as who to call when you feel suicidal.

Recognize that these feelings are temporary and that with appropriate treatment you can learn how to help yourself feel better about life again. 

Conclusion

In this article we have discussed what could be the possible reason why you are feeling suicidal other than depression. We have also looked at what you can do to cope.

References

spunout.ie

www.hhs.gov

save.org

Frequently asked questions related to “can you be suicidal and not depressed”

Can you be suicidal from anxiety?

 

Suicidal thoughts and behaviour are typically discussed in relation to depression, but a number of recent studies have suggested suicide may also be linked to anxiety disorders. In fact, patients with anxiety disorders are more likely to have suicidal thoughts and actions..

What is suicidal behavior disorder?

Suicidal behavior disorder is not a diagnosable disorder rather suicidal behavior is seen in many mental disorders, especially depression.

Suicidal behavior encompasses a spectrum of behavior from suicide attempt and preparatory behaviors to completed suicide and often starts with suicidal ideation. 

What factors contribute to suicidal thoughts in an adolescent?

Risk factors related to suicde include:

  • mental illness or psychiatric diagnosis.
  • family history of suicide and/or exposure to suicide.
  • family history of mental illness.
  • physical or sexual abuse.
  • losses.
  • aggressive behavior or impulsivity.
  • Trauma and abuse
  • Substance use

What are the warning signs of adolescent suicidal behavior?

The warning signs of suicide in adolescents include:

  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits.
  • Severe, violent, or rebellious behavior.
  • Withdrawal from family or friends.
  • Drastic personality change.
  • Agitation, restlessness, distress, or panicky behavior.
  • Giving away items to friends and family
  • Talking about suicide, death, violence
  • Collecting lethal items that can cause harm.

How do you help someone who feels low?

If you notice a friend someone who seems low and emotionally distressed, here are somethings you can do to help them:

  • Listen to them if they begin opening up
  • Ask them if they would like to talk about it
  • Help them find support and professional help
  • Support them when they need help.
  • Take care of yourself by prioritizing your own wellbeing. 
  • Offer to help with everyday tasks so that they can get the rest they need.
  • Extend loose invitations so that they can choose for themselves.

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