What Is Meant by Suicidal Tendencies? Warning Signs

Medically Reviewed on 2/11/2022
What Is Meant by Suicidal Tendencies
Suicidal tendencies is a term that indicates the propensity of an individual to experience suicidal thoughts or attempt suicide

Suicidal tendencies is a term that indicates the propensity of an individual to experience suicidal thoughts or attempt suicide.

According to the CDC, suicide is the second leading cause of death among people ages 10-34, and the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. 

Although there are usually warning signs that someone has suicidal tendencies, they can be easy to miss by friends and family. Suicide rates among young people are increasing, indicating the need to have honest conversations about it to gain a better understanding of the warning signs, causes, and risk factors.

What are the warning signs of suicidal tendencies?

Warning signs to look for that may indicate suicidal tendencies include:

  • Talking about self-harm or suicide, wanting to die or feeling stuck
  • Talking about being a burden to others or feeling trapped
  • Feeling hopeless or lack of direction
  • Making preparations and gaining access to dangerous weapons
  • Isolating from friends and family, as well as withdrawing from activities
  • Substance abuse
  • Leaving a voicemail or paying a visit to say goodbye
  • Donating personal belongings
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Irritation, agitation or wrath
  • Sudden improvement in mood symptoms

Some people may exhibit multiple warning signs, whereas others may be better at hiding their thoughts and feelings. When a painful incident, loss, or other potential triggering factor is involved, behavior and mood changes are of special concern.

What triggers suicidal tendencies?

Suicidal thoughts might be triggered by various factors such as:

  • Mood disorders: Chemical imbalances in the brain are the root of many mood disorders, including depression. These imbalances, if left untreated, can lead to suicidal ideation.
  • Grief and loss: When a person lacks the emotional capacity to cope with the death of a loved one, a traumatic incident, major financial difficulties, or the end of a relationship, the pain can be overpowering and lead to suicidal thoughts.
  • Certain medications: Some medications have been linked to suicide ideation, including anti-acne medications such as isotretinoin.

What factors can increase the risk of suicide?

Many people may be prone to suicidal tendencies due to a combination of risk factors, which may include:

  • Anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders
  • Suicide attempts in the past
  • Suicide history in the family
  • Previous sexual or physical abuse
  • Problems with substance abuse
  • Chronic pain conditions
  • Readily available suicide methods (firearms, potentially lethal medication,, etc.)
  • Prejudice, discrimination, harassment, bullying, or violence
  • Limited access to mental health services

When should you see a doctor for suicidal tendencies?

If you or someone you know has signs of suicidal tendencies, contact a local suicide prevention hotline or your mental health specialist immediately. Calls to the Lifeline Center are usually free, private, and available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Seeing a doctor or mental health expert can be the first step towards getting better. Talking to a medical professional or counselor can help you better understand your problems and prescribe medications or therapy depending on your symptoms.

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Medically Reviewed on 2/11/2022
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