Suicidal Ideation

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Suicide, or the taking of one’s own life, is a reaction to stressful life situations. If you are considering suicide or know someone who might be suicidal, learn the warning signs, and seek help and professional treatment. In the depths of despair, it might seem like suicide is the only way out, but with help, you can begin enjoying life again.

Suicidal thoughts cannot be managed alone. Professional help is needed to treat the problems causing the suicidal thinking. If you have doctor appointments, keep them. Take all medications as directed, even if you’re feeling better. You may also experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop medication abruptly. Learn as much as you can about your condition, its causes and treatments so you will know what to expect and anticipate. Carefully watch for warning signs and see your doctor or therapist if you notice any changes.

Suicidal Warning Signs

Here are the warning signs that a person may be having thoughts of suicide:

  • Making comments such as, “I’m going to kill myself,” “I wish I were dead,” or “I wish I had never been born”
  • Having a means of suicide, a gun or sleeping pills
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Noticeable mood swings
  • Preoccupation with death, dying and violence
  • Exhibiting feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Disruption of eating and sleeping patterns
  • Reckless driving
  • Putting affairs in order without explanation
  • Saying goodbye to people in a final way
  • Personality changes such as anxiety or agitation

Warning signs may vary depending on the individual. Some people hide their intentions so well that there may be no apparent warning signs.

Causes And Risk Factors

Suicidal thoughts have many causes and could be the end result of physical or mental trauma or both. There may also be a genetic link to suicide. People who make suicide attempts, or have thoughts about doing so, are more likely to have a family history of suicide.

Although suicide attempts are more frequent for women, men are more likely to accomplish suicide because they usually use more effective methods. Individuals may be at risk of suicide if they:

  • Have experienced trauma
  • Feel hopeless, isolated or lonely
  • Experienced a stressful life event such as the loss of a loved one, military service, a breakup, a significant illness or financial and/or legal problems
  • Have a substance abuse problem, as alcohol and drugs can worsen thoughts of suicide and make a person impulsive enough to take action
  • Have suicidal thoughts and access to firearms
  • Have an underlying mental disorder, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, anxiety or paranoia
  • Have a family history of suicide, mental disorders, substance abuse or violence
  • Have chronic disease or chronic pain
  • Have attempted suicide before

In some cases, people with suicidal thoughts can be a danger to others and may plan a murder followed by suicide. Common risks for murder-suicide include:

  • History of conflict with partner or spouse
  • Current legal or financial problems
  • History of mental health disorders, particularly depression
  • Substance abuse – drugs or alcohol
  • Having access to firearms

There is a possible link between beginning antidepressant medications and an increased risk of suicide. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires manufacturers of all antidepressants to include a warning stating that they may increase the risk of suicide during the first few months. However, not taking antidepressants also increases the risk of suicide so it is very important to monitor individuals taking them.


Both suicidal thoughts and actual attempts take a huge toll on the persons involved and on their family and friends. Failed attempts can result in serious or debilitating injuries, such as organ failure or brain damage. A suicide can leave friends and family members devastated and struggling with grief, anger, depression and guilt.

Sovereign Health of Arizona

Women who have experienced a traumatic event might have thoughts of suicide. Sovereign Health’s women’s treatment center in Chandler, Arizona, is primarily focused on the treatment of trauma and all underlying conditions that may accompany trauma, such as addiction and mental health disorders like suicidal ideation. Female patients at Sovereign Health of Arizona are thoroughly assessed upon admission by our experienced clinical staff, and a diagnosis will be made for any and all underlying conditions.

All of our treatment locations throughout the continental U.S. are based on the philosophy that recognizes all patients’ unique needs and circumstances by providing them with personalized treatment plans tailored to their specific needs. We not only offer holistic programming to aid in the rehabilitation of brain functioning, but also educate our patients on life skills to give them the tools they need to lead productive lives and avoid relapse.

Therapeutic activities are included in our cognitive remediation program, such as equine therapy, art therapy, yoga, meditation, exercise and nutritional counseling. Sovereign Health of Arizona provides patients with a residential rehab in a safe, supportive environment where they can focus on their recovery.

Sovereign Health’s women’s center accepts most major health insurance plans. For more information about treatment for suicidal ideation, please call our 24/7 helpline.

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