Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Increased Suicide Risk


When an individual goes through traumatic events such as assault, combat or disaster,
chances of them developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are higher. Research studies indicate the existence of a correlation between suicidal behaviors and some types of trauma. For instance, evidence exists, that traumatic events like childhood abuse and military sexual trauma can enhance the risk for suicide and self-harm. With this in mind, it is important to screen for suicide risk.

PTSD and Suicide

There is considerable debate on the issue of heightened risk of suicide in trauma survivors. Some studies suggest suicide risk is higher in people who experience trauma due to PTSD symptoms while othePTSDrs indicate that suicide risk is higher in PTSD individuals due to related psychiatric conditions. Data analyzed by the National Comorbidity Survey showed that singlehandedly, PTSD can significantly influence suicidal attempts or ideation.

Another data analytical study using information gathered by the Canadian Community Health Survey also found that respondents with PTSD displayed a higher risk for suicidal attempts even after mental disorders and physical illness were put under control.

Anger, impulsivity, and intrusive memories are among the behaviors that predict suicide risk. Also, cognitive styles of coping like the use of suppression to deal with stress can additionally be predictive of suicidal risk especially in individuals suffering from PTSD.

PTSD Treatment

As pointed above, the risk of suicide for a person who has gone through trauma is very high. In order to ensure such past traumatic events do not precipitate suicidal attempts, it is important that the individuals concerned are identified in time for treatment. Therapy is the best treatment approach for those suffering from PTSD. In particular, cognitive behavioral treatments can significantly reduce both PTSD symptoms and suicidal thoughts.

Research has established that cognitive behavioral treatments tend to have an effect that lasts anything between 5 and 10 years after the treatment is completed. Having a good relationship with mental health providers is therefore a commendable approach if you are to make the best out of your treatment decisions.

Due to the link between suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and PTSD, there needs to be regular assessments during the mental health treatment exercise. Where the provider has a reason to believe that the immediate risk for suicide is high in his or her patient based on his assessment, he can then make appropriate treatment decisions to ensure that the patient is safe. In the event the immediate suicide risk is not as high, the patient can be managed on an outpatient basis.

What to Do if you or Someone You Know is Suicidal

From time to time, each one of us feels down. However, if you find yourself having thoughts of hurting yourself, consider seeking professional help. Many people with suicidal thoughts also tend to struggle with drinking, drug, or depression problems. Therefore, watch out for these.

In the event you come in contact with a friend, family member or coworker contemplating suicide, start by calming them and advising them on mentor health options available in your area. Connecting with such a person with a mental health provider is often the best approach because these professionals are in a much better position to decide the extent of danger there is.

Someone You Know Has Died Through Suicide

It can be very upsetting when a person you are related or you know very well dies by suicide. Depending on how close you are to them, feelings of shock and distress can engulf you particularly if you saw them committing the act. If you find it hard to cope with the incident even after months have elapsed, contacting a mental health provider can help you overcome the traumatic grief.

Preventing Suicide through Treatment of Depression

Screenshot 2016-06-25 at 6.44.09 PMInasmuch as data shows that most people suffering from depression never kill themselves, when left untreated, depression can enhance chances of possible suicide. Depressed individuals can harbor suicidal thoughts whether or not they intend to turn these thoughts into action. When severely depressed, people lack sufficient energy to harm themselves, but when their depression lifts, chances of them attempting suicide are high because of the regained energy.

The good news is that depression and its related symptoms can respond to proper treatment and where early intervention is sought, the depressive illness can be nipped in the bud. Any concerns of suicidal risk should be taken seriously and a qualified professional should be notified to help evaluate the condition.

Statistics on Depression and Suicide

It is estimated that close to 15% of clinically depressed people commit suicide.

In 1997, suicide was recognized as the eighth leading cause of death in the U.S. Slightly over 30,500 people died through suicide in that year alone.

In 1996, the number of suicide attempts was estimated at 500,000.

Research also reveals that for every 8 to 25 attempted suicides, there is one completion. The ratio of attempted suicide is higher in youth and women while lower in men and the elderly.

In light of the above grave statistics, treatment should be prioritized in depressed individuals as a way to curb both attempted and successful suicides. The point at which you should seek treatment for depression is when you notice that your depression case is preventing you from living the life you desire.

Exploring Depression Treatment Options

Unlike other medical conditions, depression doesn’t affect two people in the exact same way. What this means is that treatment needs to be customized because there is no one-size-fits-all. The medical practitioner first of all examines you to learn as much as he possibly can about your depression case and whether your symptoms are rooted in an underlying medical condition. Where this is the case, the underlying condition is prioritized in treatment. The severity of your depression is also an important factor and the more severe the condition is, the more intensive the treatment ought to be.

Finding the right treatment may take quite some time with instances of trial and error. Treatment is most often than not a multipronged approach which doesn’t just rely on medication, but also other treatments such as exercise and therapy. Among the other non-medical treatments for depression include:

Social Support – This is not necessarily a treatment, but cultivating positive social connections can protect you from sliding into depression. Family members and friends are the first line of defense in this.

Good Nutrition Eating well is critical not only to your physical, but also mental health. Having a balanced diet can boost your energy and minimize mood swings. Sugar crashes can drain and push you towards depression.

Stress Reduction Excessive amounts of stress can exacerbate depression and increase your risk for future depression. To stop this, initiate changes in your life that help you to identify, manage, and reduce stress.

Therapy for Depression Treatment

Where the underlying cause for your depression symptoms is not medical, you need to find a mental health specialist for further examination. There are various types of therapy you can undergo depending on the areas being addressed. There is psychotherapy which is an effective treatment that gives you skill and insight on how to identify and prevent depression in future. There is also cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and interpersonal therapy. For the best results, medical practitioners combine one or two approaches in addressing depression conditions.

Remember it is possible to pull through depression and live a normal life again.

Are You Depressed? Here Are Some Therapies That May Help

Are you anxious or depressed and unable to undertake your day to day activities? Well, there are good news because therapy has been found to work as effectively and in some cases more effective than medication. The only challenge you have to surmount is in getting the right therapist who will understand your condition and craft a proper solution for it. Depression is an age old disorder that affects the mind and disrupts your normal functioning. The following are some of the therapy solutions you can seek to help stem this disorder.

Working with a therapist can bring lasting relief.

Working with a therapist can bring lasting relief.

Psychoanalysis

Developed by Sigmund Freud, psychoanalysis is often referred to as the mother of all therapies. This therapy involves probing the psyche of the patient with an aim to resurface unconscious impulses and behavioral patterns. The treatment may last for a number of weeks or even years depending on how well you cope with it.

Psychodynamic Therapy

This is more or less of a reduced form of psychoanalysis in that the sessions are not as frequent and the treatment is briefer lasting for a year or less. The treatment here focuses on personal development, the unconscious, as well as the relationship between the patient and the therapist. The techniques applied are different to those of psychoanalysis and the targeted goals are much more limited.

Cognitive Therapy

Depression and anxiety can be caused or contributed by negative thought patterns. Cognitive therapy comes into the picture to turn around negative thinking and thought patterns. When undergoing treatment, you will learn the formation of irrational thoughts and how to replace them with constructive thinking. The focus in cognitive therapy is in solving immediate problems and it lasts for about four months or less. It also comes with homework where the therapist may ask the patients to track their moods and practice new ways of thinking.

Behavioral Therapy

This therapy helps you to change your behavior and thereby overcome problems. For instance, you may be exposed gradually to anxiety inducing situations through a process known as desensitization so that you can become comfortable with these situations. In most instances, therapists pair behavioral therapy with cognitive therapy so as to address both the behavior and thought patterns. This results into a therapy known as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

 Interpersonal Therapy

Depression may at times be caused by lack of social support and interpersonal conflicts. In these instances, interpersonal therapy may be the solution for you. This therapy just like cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy is brief and focused. As the patient, you are asked to closely examine your relationships with your family, co-workers, friends, and other key people in your life. This will help you to resolve any interpersonal conflict as well as improve communication and build a solid support network. As part of the treatment, the therapist may ask you to create an inventory of vital relationships and role play.

In addition to the above therapies, there are other treatments such as experiential therapy which helps you to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy emotional responses as well as online therapy which is simply a therapy offered through an online platform.

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