The topic of suicide two decades ago was not widely discussed among ordinary citizens, but the problem of suicide existed at all times and among all nationalities. The term “suicide” is understood as an independent, in most cases, voluntary and deliberate execution by a person of actions aimed at ending his own life.
Suicidal behavior is a form of deviant behavior and means that the subject has a pathological way of thinking, including the emergence of thoughts about suicide, thinking about them, and developing a plan for accomplishing a suicidal act. Suicidal behavior also includes directly making attempts at depriving oneself of life.
Today the phenomenon of suicide is one of the hot topics. According to statistics provided by the World Health Organization, the number of completed suicidal acts averages eight hundred thousand cases a year. More than 15 million people for various reasons commit acts aimed at ending their own lives. Every year, mortality due to suicidal acts accounts for about 1% of all reported deaths. As social studies show, every forty seconds a fatal (completed) act of suicide takes place on the planet.
Sociologists have found that most often victims of suicide are people of adolescence and young age, staying in the age category from 15 to 25 years. The second peak occurs at a mature age – a period from 40 to 60 years. Also, a high mortality rate due to suicide was recorded among the elderly people – over 70 years old. According to published data, the ratio of men and women who committed suicide is 4: 1. The maximum number of suicides is being done among the representatives of the Caucasians.
In the past decade, the Russian Federation has been among the world leaders in the number of suicides being committed. In 2010, the number of suicides was 21 per 100 thousand population. Also in Russia, Europe’s highest suicide mortality rates were recorded in the adolescent category. More than 35% of children and adolescents living in Russia, at least once thought about the voluntary interruption of life. However, government agencies are trying not to advertise the exact data on the suicide mortality rate in the country.
Suicide: general information
Not all types of voluntary cessation of life can be attributed to suicidal acts. So, the self-sacrifice shown by a person during military actions to defend the Motherland or for the sake of saving another person is not considered to be a single suicide. Also, there are a number of countries in which at the state level a person’s voluntary departure from life is legalized if he has an incurable disease.
There are many classifications of suicidal acts. Thus, various studies divide suicides into types:
- selfish, which are a consequence of the deterioration of human interaction in society;
- anomic, provoked by the complete disintegration of the moral value system of the individual;
- altruistic, performed in order to achieve a high goal or for the welfare of other people;
- fatalistic, caused by a lack of personal control, for example: in correctional colonies;
- redemptive, resulting from the ideas of self-accusation of man;
- protest, designed to prove to the world their own point of view and demonstrate the fallacy of the existing foundations;
- disillusionary, arising from the dissatisfaction of the needs of the individual and resulting from his disappointment in some areas of life.
Domestic scientists divide the types of suicide into three categories:
- demonstrative acts – pseudosuicides;
- true suicides;
- hidden suicides (indirect suicide, indirect self-destruction).
We describe their main differences.
The first kind is a demonstrative suicide. It often occurs with a short, spontaneous, suddenly onset state of intense affect. This is the emotional state when a person becomes irresponsible or partially sane. Also, pseudosuicide is a manifestation of hypertrophied hysterical reactions, when a person makes suicide attempts not with the purpose of interrupting life, but with the intention to attract the attention of others to her person. In this case, suicidal activities are an attempt to declare itself to society or to receive from it the required benefit. Demonstrative suicide is a kind of blackmail. Death, as a rule, occurs by fatal coincidence of circumstances.
The second kind is true suicide. This is the complete opposite of the demonstrative para-suicide. True suicide implies an unconditional decision-making by an individual to end life, conduct preliminary preparations, and draw up a clear plan. The purpose of the true type of suicide is to do away with earth on earth at any cost and by any means. In this case, the subject is guided solely by his decision, not listening to the opinions of loved ones and not paying attention to the reactions of relatives.
In some situations, the decision to commit suicide is made by a person not independently, but is the result of exerting any pressure from outside on him. Also, true suicides are selectively related to cases where the death was not performed by the person on his own, but was carried out with the help of other persons. However, the suicide was present desire to end life.
The third kind is indirect suicide. This is a state where persons consciously choose suicidal behavior. This is a model of behavior that cannot lead to immediate demise, but all actions of the subject are accompanied by a high probability of death.
By the hidden suicide can be attributed to the presence of a person’s pernicious addictions: alcoholism and drug addiction. An indirect type of suicide is the conscious refusal of medical care in the presence of a serious illness in the subject. Hidden types of suicidal actions include risky driving a car, and deliberately ignoring traffic rules, and a demonstrative disregard for safety measures. This includes practicing extreme sports without adequate training and in the absence of the required equipment. And voluntary participation in military conflicts in hot spots. And participation in deadly fun, for example: the game of “Russian roulette”.
It should be emphasized that any public organizations, social cells or religious associations that are agitating citizens to commit suicidal acts are prosecuted by the legislation of the Russian Federation. Also legal liability arises if it has been fixed:
- incitement to suicide;
- bringing the subject to suicide by humiliation, threats, blackmail, moral, sexual or physical violence;
- aiding in a suicidal act;
- failure to provide medical assistance to authorized individuals who have decided to take their own lives.
Causes of suicide and risk factors
The basis for the formation of the suicidal behavior of the individual is unfavorable heredity – a genetic predisposition to psychotic reactions. Along with such a hereditary conditionality, the basis for the emergence of abnormal destructive thinking is the problematic period of growing up of the personality. This is the situation when a child grew up among an asocial environment, was brought up in excessive severity or, on the contrary, full indulgence. When in childhood the human needs were ignored, his rights were infringed, his dignity was degraded. When the little person regularly suffered bullying from peers, did not meet the understanding of the parents, did not feel the love and attention.
Against the background of such a picture of problem maturation, a personality is formed, which has defects in its characterological portrait and suffers from various inferiority complexes. It is in the presence of flaws in the personality structure any factor — external or internal, intensively and spontaneously arising or acting for a long time — can cause the development of suicidal behavior.
It has been established that most often suicides are committed by persons who have never been married. Among the leading causes of suicide attempts, experts cite the following “family” factors:
- lack of understanding in the family;
- frequent quarrels and conflicts with relatives;
- spouse’s immoral habits;
- drunkenness and addiction of a partner;
- treachery and betrayal of a loved one;
- problems with children;
- forced cohabitation with the elderly, who have severe mental abnormalities or an incurable somatic ailment;
- neglect of the spouse, his mockery, moral pressure, assault;
- divorce or separation from a partner;
- death of a close relative;
- severe illness of a spouse or children.
The cause of suicide may be unsuccessful love, experienced sexual or physical abuse, regular bullying of peers. Failures in educational activities, failures of creative projects, difficulties in the professional sphere can also push people to suicide.
The cause of suicidal behavior is the depressing feeling of loneliness that is experienced. Social isolation, forced dropout from the society, lack of full-fledged contacts in the human community can cause the subject to think about suicide. The reasons for suicide also include the individual being in extreme conditions in which an adequate person simply cannot survive.
Financial problems of a person can also be the cause of suicide: bankruptcy of an enterprise, loss of work, inability to find a job, difficult credit obligations, loss of a source of income. Sudden change of social status, loss of authority of society can lead to the edge of the abyss. Unemployed persons and low-skilled workers have a high risk of suicide.
Very often, the cause of suicide is incorrect and tactless actions of the inner circle, for example: disclosure of confidential information about the subject’s sexual orientation. Defamation, deliberate mental trauma, and the systematic degradation of his dignity can lead to a decision on suicide.
A serious somatic ailment, especially incurable cancer with an intense pain syndrome, can trigger the voluntary retirement from life. The cause of suicidal acts is recent surgery. People who have congenital or acquired deformities, disabled people who are chained to a wheelchair and have no chance of recovery are prone to committing suicide. Quite often, the motivation of suicide is determined in people who chronically experience intolerable pain. The risk of suicide increases the presence of:
- cardiovascular lesions;
- diseases of the musculoskeletal system;
- diseases of the genitourinary system, in particular – the presence of an artificial kidney;
- HIV infection;
- chronic pulmonary pathologies, for example: bronchial asthma;
- multiple sclerosis;
- systemic lupus erythematosus;
- ulcerative lesions of the digestive system.
The risk of suicide is increased in people who take corticosteroids, typical antipsychotics, antihypertensive drugs, some anti-cancer drugs.
The cause of suicidal behavior are various mental disorders, for example: prolonged depression. Particularly high suicide risk in patients with bipolar affective disorder. Suicide hazard is present in patients with panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, alcoholism, drug addiction, schizophrenia.
Very often the reason for the appearance of thoughts of suicide is the satiety of the subject’s life. The lack of a clear goal, a limited outlook, the absence of hobbies, an unwillingness to develop one’s personality form a kind of “fatigue” from life.
Often suicides are committed because of the dominant ideas of a person’s own worthlessness and guilt. For some, the act of suicide is a kind of “cleansing” of the soul from oppressive feelings of guilt. Often suicides are committed under the fear of exposure and subsequent punishment, when a person is afraid of responsibility for his indecent or unlawful acts.
Among adolescents, a common cause of suicide is the desire to demonstrate their “maturity”, the desire to gain popularity among their peers. Many young suicides bade farewell to life for imitation of famous people. An increased risk of suicide is present in adolescents serving sentences in prisons.
Personal factors that create the basis for suicidal behavior are also well studied. Most people who have attempted suicide have a psychasthenic personality type. Such people have an inadequate opinion about their person – too low is recorded or, on the contrary, excessively high self-esteem. They have reduced resistance to mental and mental stress. They are distinguished by perfectionism, the inability to compromise, the propensity to fix attention on details. Persons prone to suicide – impulsive, suspicious, impressionable, easily suggestible. They hardly adapt to the changes taking place. Many subjects have ideas of their own inferiority and worthlessness. They are pessimistic about their past and have no specific plans.
Studied and described the factors that act as an obstacle to committing suicide. Such precautionary measures are:
- strong, fully formed system of moral values of a person;
- the human potential perceived creativity and the desire to fully disclose their talents;
- having clear goals and a desire to make your dreams come true;
- understanding, awareness and acceptance of the meaninglessness and unnaturalness of suicide;
- unwillingness to cause mental anguish to relatives;
- treating an act of suicide as a sign of personal weakness;
- existing obligations to young children;
- religious prohibitions.
Very often it is the religious taboo that is the main factor deterring the subject from committing suicide. In many religions – in Islam, Christianity, Judaism – deliberate voluntary premature departure from life is considered a sin. So, Orthodox Christians allow the only cause of suicide – the madness of man. Other persons who committed suicide are not allowed to read the funeral, and in some places it is completely forbidden to bury such persons in the territory of church cemeteries.
The main event for the prevention of suicidal acts – timely identification of the subject’s inclination to psychotic reactions and the implementation of complex treatment of mental disorders. In the presence of elements of suicidal behavior, it is advisable to conduct a course of psychotherapeutic treatment. Most often, cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy is used as a preventive measure. In the process of treatment, the causes of hopelessness are identified, and work is underway to eradicate these destructive elements of the subject’s consciousness.
One of the means of preventing suicides are consultations conducted by psychologists on the helpline. However, many of our compatriots have a prejudice regarding going to doctors with mental problems. That is why the main task in preventive measures is to inculcate psychological literacy in the population, raise the level of culture regarding the need to take care of their mental health in a timely manner, and eradicate the fear of going to psychiatric services.
Currently, the work on suicide prevention is carried out in all educational institutions of Russia, since in recent years the number of teenage suicides has increased. Of particular importance to the preservation of the mental health of the nation is prevention, which is carried out in places of deprivation of liberty, since the risk of suicidal acts is especially great among people serving their sentences in prisons and colonies.
As a drug prevention of suicidal tendencies for persons suffering from affective disorders, it is advisable to periodically conduct antidepressant treatment. However, some substances from the class of antidepressants increase the suicidal risk of overdose. Therefore, the choice of the drug and the selection of doses should be carried out by a certified psychiatrist after careful examination of the patient’s history. People who are prone to suicidal tendencies, especially those who are distinguished by impulsivity and impetuous actions, are recommended to take prophylactic lithium preparations.
The measures of suicide prevention are also global events held at the state level, aimed at creating citizens’ motivation for a healthy lifestyle. Promotion of physical education and sports, tightening control over the circulation of narcotic drugs, an anti-alcohol company – the necessary measures to prevent suicidal mood. The steps taken by the government to stabilize the economic situation, increase incomes of citizens, eliminate unemployment, ensure a high standard of living for people of retirement age, and improve assistance to low-income families are important and relevant for Russians.
Access to sports, having a choice of hobby groups, volunteering the public to work in the community is also a means of preventing suicides. You can point out the pattern: the happier and more satisfied the life of the nation, the smaller the number of suicides. That is why every citizen should make a feasible contribution to improving the quality of life of our fellow citizens. Do not hope for manna from heaven, but create a happy life with your own hands.
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