Suicide and Society

What is suicide? Why do people attempt to commit suicide? Suicide is the act or an instance of intentionally killing oneself. It can also be defined as the destruction or ruin of one’s own interests.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from 2004, suicide took the lives of 30,622 people, and it also says that suicide rates are generally higher than the national average in the Western states and lower in the Eastern and Midwestern states. In 2001, 55% of all suicides that were committed involved the use of a firearm, and in 2002, 132,353 people were hospitalized following suicide attempts. Of the 132,353 people hospitalized, 116,639 were treated in emergency departments and released.

There are many different types of “groups” that are at risk for the potential to commit suicide. Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death for all U.S. men, and men are four times more likely to die from suicide than women. Suicide rates are highest among whites and second highest among American Indian and Native Alaskan men. Among the 24,672 suicide deaths reported among men in 2001, 60% involved the use of a firearm.

Men aren’t the only people who are vulnerable to suicide. Women and youthful people are also in danger of possibly committing suicide. In 2002, women reported attempting suicide in their lifetime about three times as often as men. Rates of suicide among teenagers and adolescents are unbelievably high, but the rates have been declining since 1992. Adolescents and young adults often experience stress, confusion, and depression from situations occurring in their families, schools, and communities. These kind of feelings can overwhelm young people and lead them to consider suicide as a “solution.” Suicide is the third leading cause of death among people ages fifteen to twenty-four. In 2001, 3,971 suicides were reported in this group and 54% of youth suicides involved the use of a firearm. Of the total number of suicides among ages fifteen to twenty-four in 2001, 86% were male and 14% were female.

Elderly people are also vulnerable to suicide because the rate of suicide increases with age and is very high among those people sixty-five years of age and older. Most elderly suicide victims are seen by their primary care provider a few weeks prior to their suicide attempt and diagnosed with their first episode of mild to moderate depression, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) in 1999. Older adults who are suicidal are also more likely to be suffering from physical illnesses and are very likely to be divorced or widowed. Of the 5,393 Americans over age sixty-five that committed suicide in 2001, 85% were men and 15% were women. In 2001, firearms were used in 73% of suicides committed by adults over the age of sixty-five.

There are many different kinds of risk factors pertaining to suicide and why people choose to try to commit suicide in the first place. There are many different reasons why people choose suicide as a “solution.” A history of mental disorders, particularly depression and a history of alcohol and substance abuse can contribute to suicide, or even the slightest thought of suicide. A family history of suicide, child maltreatment, and feelings of hopelessness can cause suicide to become an option for a person’s problem.

Impulsive or aggressive tendencies, loss( relational, social, work, or financial), physical illness and easy access to lethal methods of suicide are also things that you can look for to tell if a person is or could become suicidal. Cultural and religious beliefs can trigger suicide attempts because of the belief that suicide is a noble resolution for a personal dilemma. The most common reason for suicide or suicide attempts is isolation, a feeling of being cut off from other people.

There are also some protective factors that can deter people from contemplating suicide. Some of these factors include effective clinical care for mental, physical, and substance abuse disorders, easy access to a variety of clinical interventions, support for help seeking, and also family and community support. Some other protective factors are the support from ongoing medical and mental health care relationships, skills in problem solving, conflict resolution, nonviolent handling of disputes, and cultural and religious beliefs that discourage suicide and support self-preservation instincts.

Suicide is frequently highly stigmatized, and those experiencing suicidal ideas struggle to be heard and understood, and it frequently results from the experience of pain outweighing the individual’s coping strategies and resources for dealing with that pain. Suicide is considered a sin or immoral act in many religions, and a crime in some jurisdictions. However, some cultures have viewed it as an honorable way to exit certain shameful or hopeful situations, and people who are attempting to or are dying by suicide sometimes leave a suicide note.

Medicine views suicide as a mental health issue, and severe suicidal thoughts area considered a medical emergency. Mental health practitioners consistently advise suicidal people to seek help, especially if weapons, drugs, or other methods are available or if a detailed plan is in place.

Suicide attempts can come from many different types of people. People with mental disorders are likely to commit suicide but teenagers and young adolescents can also become vulnerable to committing suicide. For example, a young and healthy person, free from any major trauma in their past, in their opinion free from any mental disorders, and with a future even regarded as bright by observers, can come to the decision that they don’t find life rewarding and that they wish to end their experience right then and there. People who ultimately kill themselves under the circumstances of suicide might argue that the peace of nothingness that they think they will find in death, if they aren’t religious, or the peace of heaven offered to the dead by a deity whose forgiveness they trust in, is much more appealing than the experiences they expect to have in this world.

There are time when a person will make actions resembling suicide attempts while not being fully committed, or in a deliberate attempt to have others notice. This is called a suicidal gesture. It is also known as a “cry for help.” However, a person who really truly wishes to die may fail, due to lack of knowledge about what they are doing. The failure may be a result of the unwillingness to try methods that may end in permanent damage if they fail or inflict harm upon other people. It also could be a result of an unanticipated rescue, someone stopping them before they really hurt themselves, among other reasons. This is most commonly referred to as a suicide attempt.

Trying to distinguish between a suicidal attempt and a suicidal gesture may be difficult. Intent and motivation are not always fully discernable since so may people in a suicidal state are genuinely conflicted over whether they wish to end their lives. One approach, safely assuming that a strong intent will ensure success, considers all near-suicides to be suicide gestures. However, this does not explain as to why so many people who fail at suicide end up with severe injuries, often permanent, which are most likely undesirable to those who are making a suicidal gesture.

Another strong possibility is the fact that those wishing to make a suicidal gesture may end up accidentally killing themselves, perhaps by underestimating the lethality of the method chosen or by overestimating the possibility of external intervention by others. Suicide-like acts should always s be treated as seriously as possible since if there is an insufficiently strong reaction from loved ones from a suicidal gesture, this has a strong chance of motivation for suicide attempts in the future, more committed attempts.

Suicide is defined by “Taber’s Cyclopedia Medical Dictionary” as an act or instance of taking one’s own life voluntarily. It is also one who attempts or commits self-murder. These individuals often have attacks of temporary insanity or mental depression which may lead to suicide.

There are many different mental states that could drive a person to consider suicide as a “logical” option for themselves. Depression, which is delusions of persecution, being ruined, or hearing voices. In melancholia, schizophrenia, epilepsy, confusional states, and alcoholism all contribute to suicide.

Also, there are several different ways or methods to commit suicide. Hangings, drownings, and the cutting of an artery are the more common and more well known methods of killing yourself. Jumping from heights, overdosing on various medications,
bombs, and deliberately crashing vehicles or airplanes are also different and somewhat known ways of committing suicide.
Instruments used may be harmless articles converted into dangerous tools such as matches, knives and spoons, glass, cords, rope, suspenders, bed clothing, and nail files. All of these items must be removed if the person is inclined to harm themselves or others.

Depression is one of the main causes of suicide or suicide attempts. Sometimes a depressed person will plan a suicide in advance, but most suicide attempts happen impulsively, in a moment of feeling desperately upset. Some people who attempt suicide mean to die and some don’t.

For certain people, a suicide attempt is a way to express deep emotional pain. They can’t say how they feel, so, for them, attempting suicide feels like the only way to get their message across. However, when a suicide attempt is a cry for help and the person doesn’t mean to die, there’s no way to control it. Many people who really didn’t mean to kill themselves end up dead or critically ill.

Suicide attempts are highest during middle adolescence. By about age seventeen or eighteen, the rate of suicide attempts drop. This may occur because older teens have learned to tolerate sad or upset moods, know how to get the support they need, and have developed better coping skills.

There are many different ways to commit suicide. One method to kill oneself is by burning, which is sometimes called self-immolation. The act of burning to death can take anywhere from several minutes to several days, which makes this an extremely painful way to die. If this is done in public, a suicidal person might be stopped by people nearby. Death may be a result from smoke inhalation, shock, or after a period of days, systematic failure.

Car collisions, also known as autocide, which is suicide by deliberately driving a car into another, usually an immobile object, is another form of suicide. Sometimes the other object may be another vehicle, although this poses a risk to the people in the other vehicle. It is also very possible to commit suicide by intentionally crashing an aircraft.

The main risk of a drowning suicide attempt is permanent brain damage if rescue arrives after the brain has been deprived of oxygen for several minutes. Suicide by drowning is defined as deliberately submerging in water and staying there long enough for water to fill the breathing channels. This might be accomplished by walking into water with heavy objects attached to the body to prevent buoyancy or escape.

If a car is driven into water, it will usually stay afloat for quite some time before sinking, and after submerging, the pressure outside the car will be greater than the pressure inside. Due to this, the pressure prevents the occupants from opening the doors until the interior fills with water and the pressure has equalized. Suicide by drowning could also be done by jumping from a bridge.

Electrocution is suicide by electricity. Electricity through the body can seriously disrupt nerve signals and cause death if the current is strong enough and affects enough of the body. Water is often involved because water is a very good conductor of electricity. A common method is to sit in a bathtub full of water and throw in an electrical device that is plugged into an outlet. Electrocution is not always fatal and can result in brain damage and other neurological impairments.

Hanging is another form of suicide that some people will use to end their lives. There are three forms of hangings. The first type is called a drop hanging. This is when a person puts a noose around their neck and ties the other end to some fixed object, then they jump or drop themselves from a height with the aim of breaking the neck.

The second type of hanging suicide is called vertical position hanging. This is when a person strangles himself using his own body weight, and this is slower than the previous method.

The third and final type is called the horizontal position hanging. This occurs when the suicidal person puts a noose around his or her neck and attaches the other end to something that sticks out, such as a doorknob or water tap, and then uses his own force to push away from it, or establishes himself in a position where gravity can help out. Due to prolonged asphyxiation, blood may pool in the eyes before death, and a violent seizer might occur causing an unexpected disturbance.

Jumping is another common form of suicide. There are three kinds of jump suicides. The first type is jumping from a tall building or from a bridge. The impact of this type of jump can shatter organs and tissues. If a suicidal person jumps from a bridge into water, the person may die from drowning rather than from the impact, especially if the bridge lies low over the water.

The second type of jump suicide is jumping off the stern of a ship. This is done by jumping off the stern of a ship into icy cold water and ultimately drowning. The chances of rescue are small since hypothermia sets in rapidly, and it is also difficult to turn a ship around in time for a serious rescue attempt.

The third and final type of jump suicide is jumping under a train, tram, or car. The damage that is done depends on the speed and type of vehicle. Being struck by a vehicle is far less damaging and less lethal than being run over. However, just an arm or a leg may get under the wheels, and the person may survive maimed.

An extremely dangerous form of suicide is performed via lethal injection. The injection of a harmful chemical substance, drug, or air into the bloodstream, according to Wikipedia. Injecting enough air into a vein causes an air embolism and acute heart failure. The effect of drugs or other chemicals injected into the bloodstream depends on the chemical and the quantity injected. However, this method is not always effective, successful, or lethal.

The method of suicide called overdosing involves taking a large dose of medication, such as sleeping pills, anti-depressants, and painkillers. Due to the unpredictability of dosing requirements, death is uncertain and an attempt may leave a person alive but with severe organ damage. Overdosing may also be performed by mixing medications with one another or with alcohol or illegal drugs. This method may leave confusion over whether the death was a suicide or an accident.

The plastic bag method of suicide is when a plastic bag, often combined with sleep-inducing drugs, and near overdose or other ingredients such as glue which is inhaled with a view to causing hallucinations or drowsiness. Unconsciousness or sleep sets in as a result of lack of oxygen to the brain and the use of drugs. The person may eventually suffocate during sleep without being aware of this. This method is particularly dangerous since the person has no further control over their own will after becoming unconscious or falling asleep. However, there is a risk of brain damage should this method be uncompleted.

Suicide via poisoning is effective in the same way of overdosing, but the chances of success is higher though the dosage required still varies from person to person. Due to the fact that the most potent poisons are usually inaccessible to the general public. This method is traditionally used by people in power, such as politicians or military leaders.

The Japanese ritual method of suicide, called Seppuku, was practiced mostly in the medieval era, but some isolated cases appear in modern times. In Western societies, the most widely known part of Seppuku is the slashing of the stomach. Dressed ceremonially, with his sword placed in front of him and sometimes seated on special cloths, the warrior would prepare for death by writing a death poem. With a selected attendant standing by, he would open his kimono, take up his short sword, fan, or knife, and plunge it into his or her abdomen, making first a left-to-right cut and then a second slightly upward stroke. On the second stroke, the attendant would perform daki-kubi, a ritual in which the warrior is all but decapitated. In the case that a fan is used (this occurs usually when the person is very young or particularly evil,) the attendant would perform the daki-kubi the moment the fan touched the person’s stomach.

Committing a shooting type suicide involved using a firearm on oneself, and is used more frequently in countries where firearms are easier to obtain. The lethality of the method depends on where the shot is aimed, usually the side of the forehead or the mouth. In some cases the heart is chosen as a target, but is harder to aim correctly, and a shot to the stomach will cause a slower death, which will be caused through blood loss rather than organ trauma.
Shooting suicides have a high mortality rate but occasionally result in seemingly miraculous survivals where the bullet causes little or no damage to life-critical faculties. Men tend to use this method more often than women, and most men shoot themselves in the head, women tend to shoot themselves in the heart to do less facial damage.

Slashing or cutting of the throat is another classic form of suicide. This is caused by blood loss or blood clogging the trachea. This method cuts the major artery which leads to the brain and it takes no longer than a few minutes to lose enough blood for the wound to be fatal. It is almost impossible for someone to stop the person from dying.

Suicide is a huge problem, not only here in the United States, but also in other countries around the world. As stated in the past couple of paragraphs, there are many different ways and methods to commit suicide. Suicide is defined as the intentional killing of oneself. Due to the easy access to technology in the world now, it is even more easier to commit suicide, and it has to stop immediately.

Works Cited

1. “Death with Dignity.” Growth House. Accessed 29 April 2006. http://www.growthhouse.org/dignity.html.
2. “Pain Management.” Growth House. Accessed 29 April 2006. http://www.growthhouse.org/pain.html.
3. “Suicide.” TeensHealth. Accessed 24 April 2006. Updated March 2006. http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/mental_health/suicide.html.
4. “Suicide.” Wikipedia Encyclopedia. Accessed 24 April 2006. Updated 24 April 2006. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/suicide.
5. “Suicide and Self-harm.” Mental Help. Accessed 29 April 2006. Updated 24 October 2001. http://mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id+443&cn=9.
6. “Suicide: Fact Sheet.” National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Accessed 24 April 2006. Updated 30 March 2006. http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/factsheets/ suifacts.htm.
7. “Suicide: No Suicide attempt should be dismissed or treated lightly!” National Mental Health Association. Accessed 29 April 2006.http://www.nmha.org/inforctr/ fact sheets/81.cfm.
8. “Suicide methods.” Wikipedia Encyclopedia. Accessed 24 April 2006 Updated 20 April 2006. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/suicide_methods.
9. “Teen Suicide.” American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Accessed 24 April 2006. Updated July 2004. http://www.aacap.org/publications/factsfam/ suicide.htm.
10. Thomas, Clayton. “Taber’s Cyclopedia Medical Dictionary.” Published: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Publisher: F.A. Davis Company. Year of Publication: 1977.

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