Guest post by Adam Cook, creator of www.addictionhub.org.
There is a wide assortment of mental illnesses that can be linked to suicide. Depression is, of course, the most common. But what people may not realize is that any mental illness has the potential to trigger suicidal thoughts. Even if depression is not necessarily a symptom, anyone with a mental illness should know and understand their risks. Here are a few of the ways a mental illness can bring about suicidal thoughts.
Lack of Treatment
Too often, people suffering from mental illness remain undiagnosed and untreated. Whether social stigma is to blame or basic lack of funds, too many people are not receiving the help they need for their mental illness. Without treatment, a mental illness can take over a person’s daily life. The symptoms will grow worse, affecting relationships and the ability to manage everyday life.
Seeking professional treatment is critical for the wellbeing of a person with a mental illness. It is the only way to ensure that symptoms are controlled and that the person knows how to cope with the effects of their illness in an efficient and positive way. It is also an important step in preventing suicide.
Self-Medication in Lieu of Proper Treatment
For many people who aren’t receiving treatment, self-medication is common. Self-medication occurs when a person abuses a substance in an attempt to control the symptoms of a physical or mental illness. Consequently, addiction is also more common in those with mental illness than those without. With self-medication, suicide becomes even more likely as it typically means the person is not receiving proper treatment, is experiencing worsening symptoms, and is now also struggling with an addiction.
Substance abuse may seem to reduce the symptoms of a mental illness for a short period of time but in reality, it is making them worse. Substance abuse can give a person hope that their symptoms are under control while the high lasts, but at the end, they feel their symptoms become more severe. Thoughts of suicide during this time are not uncommon. Furthermore, substance abuse makes suicidal actions easier to contemplate. Alcohol, in particular, is often used during suicide attempts.
Depression as an Illness or a Side Effect
Depression is a very common mental illness and takes many forms. Untreated depression can cause a person to feel hopeless and as though they will never enjoy life again. Therapy, coping tactics, and possibly medication are necessary for a person with depression.
For people with other mental health concerns, depression is often an underlying, secondary condition. It is common for people struggling with mental illness to become depressed or hopeless as they fight to regain control over their lives. Regardless of the diagnosis, it is important to know that depression and suicidal thoughts are always a potential risk.
Suicide remains, unfortunately, common, particularly in those with mental health problems. Substance abuse and addiction fall under the category of mental illness and are some of the top contributors to suicidal thoughts. Even if you or your loved one is not self-medicating, depression often comes alongside other diagnoses. Always be aware of and on the lookout for the signs of suicidal thoughts and make treatment a top priority.
Image via Pixabay by Unsplash