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Mar

Suicide Prevention: When to Seek Help

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Did you know that an estimated 123 Americans take their own lives everyday? That’s more than 44,000 suicides on average every year. For over 90 percent of these suicides, an underlying mental health disorder, such as depression or bipolar disorder, was at least partially to blame. Unfortunately, only 50 percent of Americans with major depression are treated for it. It’s painful to think about how many people could have been saved had they sought treatment.

Don’t let yourself become another number. Pay attention to the following warning signs that indicate it’s time for you to seek help.

You are isolated and uninterested

Are you single, widowed, separated or divorced? Do you prefer to be alone? Have you pushed away most or even all of your friends and family members? Have you lost interest in activities you once enjoyed and find it difficult to become interested in anything at all? Perhaps you find yourself giving away your once prized possessions because you have even lost interest in them. These are all signs that you may have an undiagnosed mental health disorder and that it is time to seek help.

You have extreme negative emotions and suicidal thoughts

If you experience extreme negative emotions such as hopelessness, helplessness, rage, shame, guilt or if you feel like you are a burden on others, then you may have a mental health disorder that has become out of control. You may feel that the only way to escape these feelings is to end your life, but this is not true. If this all sounds familiar, then it is time to seek the help of a mental health professional. A professional can help you work through these difficult emotions and find inner peace.

You have a substance abuse disorder

Do you often turn to alcohol or drugs to escape your intense emotions? Do you fear that this has led to a full-blown alcohol or drug addiction? If so, you will need to get treatment for this as well. When a person with a substance abuse disorder is also suffering from a mental health disorder, it is critical that they carefully manage both disorders to ensure that a relapse from one to the other does not occur. Once both disorders are fully active, the person’s condition can turn life-threatening.

Don’t self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. A mental health professional can give you coping mechanisms or prescribe medication to help you properly address your depression or anxiety, and a substance abuse counselor can help you find the right treatment for your addiction. If you don’t treat both issues, you may find yourself in a vicious cycle.

You have any additional risk factors for suicide

 If, on top of these warning signs, you also have any additional risk factors associated with suicide, then this is further evidence that you should seek some help. For example, if you have already attempted suicide, this is the biggest indicator that you could be in danger of harming yourself.

Don’t try to manage your crisis alone. Is there a history of suicide in your family or social circle? Are you unemployed, in a job that you hate or retired? Have you recently lost a loved one? These are all risk factors associated with suicide and indicators that you should seek help.

Over 18 percent of Americans suffer from an anxiety disorder, and almost 7 percent have major depressive disorder. These numbers tell you that you are not alone if you suspect you have a mental health disorder. Get help if you isolate yourself, have lost interest in everything, or experience extreme negative emotions, such as hopelessness or suicidal thoughts. If you self-medicate with drugs or alcohol, then it’s time to get treatment for both your mental health disorder and your addiction.

It’s wrong to believe that professionals can’t help you. You do not have to suffer alone and become another number.

Photo credit: Pexels.com

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