why do people commit suicide: It is often difficult to imagine what led a friend, family member, or celebrity to commit suicide. There may be no warning signs, and you’re wondering what clues you might have missed. Often, many factors combine to lead to a decision to commit suicide. It is often an act performed during a storm of strong emotions and life stresses rather than after careful consideration.
Depression and mental illness
While there are many factors that can influence a person’s decision to commit suicide, the most common is that the person has severe depression. A person is feeling great emotional pain but cannot see any other way to ease that pain other than to end his own life.
Other mental illnesses, in addition to depression, can also play a role in suicide. For example, a person with schizophrenia or other psychosis-producing illnesses may be hearing voices ordering suicide. Bipolar disorder, an illness in which a person experiences alternating periods of high and low moods, can also increase a person’s risk of committing suicide. A borderline personality disorder is another condition with a high suicide rate. Eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, have a high rate of death from suicide.
A person who has had a traumatic experience, including child sexual abuse, rape, physical abuse, or war trauma, has a higher risk of suicide, even many years after the trauma. Having a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder or multiple incidents of trauma increases the risk even more.
Substance abuse and impulsivity
Drugs and alcohol can also influence a person to feel suicidal, making them more impulsive and more likely to act on their impulses than they would be when they were sober. Drug and alcohol use can contribute to other reasons people commit suicide, such as job and relationship loss. Also, rates of substance abuse and alcohol use disorder are higher among people with depression and other psychological disorders. Put them together, and the risks increase.
Loss or fear of loss
A person may decide to commit suicide when faced with loss or fear of loss. These situations can include:
- Ending a romantic relationship or close friendship
- Losing a job or being unemployed and unable to find a sufficient source of stable income
- Financial problems
- Losing social position
- Losing your living situation due to financial reasons or at the end of a relationship
- Academic failure
- Losing social or family acceptance due to disclosing your sexual orientation.
- Intimidation, shame, or humiliation, including cyberbullying
- Being arrested or incarcerated
Hopelessness, whether short-term or as a longer-lasting trait, has been found in many studies to contribute to the decision to commit suicide. The person may be facing a social or physical challenge and does not see how the situation can improve.
When a person feels like they have lost all hope and don’t feel able to change that, they can overshadow all the good things in their life, making suicide seem like a viable option. While it may seem obvious to an outside observer that things will improve, a person with depression may not be able to see this due to the pessimism and despair that accompany this illness.
Chronic pain and terminal illness
If a person has chronic pain or an illness with no hope of cure or relief from suffering, suicide may seem like a way to regain dignity and control of their life. Assisted suicide is legal in some states for these reasons.
Believe that your life is a burden for others.
People who decide to commit suicide often claim that their loved ones or the world, in general, would be better off without them. The person sees himself as a burden to others or feels worthless.
A person can become socially isolated for many reasons, including losing friends or a spouse, physical or mental illness, social anxiety, retirement, or moving to a new location. This can lead to loneliness and other risk factors, such as depression and substance abuse.
A cry for help
Sometimes people attempt suicide not so much because they really want to die, but because they don’t know how to get help. Suicide attempts become a way of screaming and showing the world how much the person is suffering. Unfortunately, these calls for help can sometimes prove fatal if the person misjudges the lethality of their chosen suicide method.
There are some situations in which what appears to be a suicide is actually an accidental death. The dangerous “choking game,” where teens try to choke to feel a high, autoerotic choking sensation, are examples.
You can never know why a person committed suicide. While it might seem like someone had everything to live for, it probably didn’t seem the same. If you or a friend are at risk of self-harm, the National Suicide Prevention Line is available to chat online or call 800-273-8255.