Before I started to write on this subject, I hesitated for several days because it brought back photographic memories of suicide cases that I’ve tried to suppress for several years. Yet, I felt the need to share my insights of suicide warning signs adults.
With over (25) years, of law enforcement experience, I’ve investigated or assisted in over a thousand death investigations. A lot of these investigations took place while I was a Forensic Science Medical Examiner Investigator. So, I know firsthand the methods that people used to take their own lives and they do it in a variety of ways.
Certainly, this epidemic happens way too often in large cities and rural town America. And it appears no community is immune and oftentimes leave the majority of families with no concrete answers as to why someone would take their own life. But even if you had the answers, would it make you feel better? The truth is, of course not. However, it may offer you a sense of understanding of the person’s state of mind prior to death.
In general, the majority of suicide-related deaths are among boys and men. And the suicide rate among middle-aged women has increased in the past few years. Frequently, families asked the same question, “Did they leave a note and why did they do it?” Still, on those rare occasions, after a suicide note is found, it’s usually postmortem.
Therefore, I will discuss some suicide warning signs adults and offer ways to assist them while alive.
Methods Of Committing Suicide
People used many ways to take their own life. Sometimes it’s on purpose and other times it’s accidental. In either way, it’s devastating to families and friends. So let’s identify the types of suicide investigations that take place on a daily basis. These consist of alcohol, drugs, P.T.S.D. (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), medications, depression, relationships, financial, self-inflicted gunshot wounds, jumping from bridges, trains, airplanes, vehicles, drowning in bathtubs and hanging from trees, closets, stairwells, and garages, just to name a few. Consequently, there is no shortage of means of someone committing suicide.
This type of suicide is the most common. Approximately 85 % of suicides are committed with a firearm. Men and women use this avenue to take their own life and sometimes the life of a family member. This type of case is referred to as a Murder-Suicide. And there is another called Suicide by Cop. This occurs when a person with a handgun calls 911 with the intent to confront the Police Officer with that handgun, causing the Officer to shoot him on the scene. These types of situations are mostly spontaneously without any forethought.
Some symptoms to look for are depression, excessive drinking, and domestic abuse. Unfortunately, if this type of behavior is observed contact your local law enforcement for assistance. In some states, Officers can legally confiscate firearms for safekeeping for a short period. This is for the safety of the person and residents.
Alcohol is a depressant and most of us drink on our good and bad days. Whereas, if someone has been diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety, it could become problematic. They could be mixing the alcohol with their prescribed medication. This could alter the state of mind causing severe depression and irrational behavior such as feelings of loneliness, pain, confusion, and failure.
So if you know someone with these symptoms offer them your friendship, coerce them to an alcohol treatment program or see a professional counselor. But they may reject these ideas and refuse to admit themselves. If this happens, find a closer relative or their best friend to assist you in this endeavor.
Drugs and Medications
These types of investigations are usually determined to be an accidental suicide. Meaning the person intentionally used the drugs or medications, but unknowingly overloaded their body with the substance causing their death. And these popular drugs are fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine. Fentanyl is dangerous by itself and extremely dangerous when laced with any kind of drugs or alcohol. Fentanyl is an opioid and used to treat severe pain. It is 80-100 times stronger than Morphine and highly dependable. If used, this will often lead to death even if emergency medical personnel is nearby.
Similarly, recreational drugs such as heroin and cocaine continue to be dangerous and cause thousands of deaths each year across the country. And often in these types of accidental overdoses, the first Police Officer on the scene find the syringe still injected into their body or resting in their hand.
Knowing someone in your family using these drugs can be stressful. Offer your assistance by getting them into a drug treatment program and professional counseling. If they are abusing their prescription notify their primary care doctor and monitor their intake of the medications.
Also, ensure the physician checks the dosage because some medications can actually cause more depression and anxiety.
Depression And Mental Illness
This type of suicide is the most disguised and surprising to families, friends and the community. They have usually been diagnosed with clinical depression and prescribed medication by a physician. These symptoms may be excessive drinking, hopelessness, loss of appetite, unhappiness, weight loss, and difficulty sleeping. However, this type of person has learned to cope with their disorder and the warning signs may be camouflage throughout many years until they suffer a major set back such as the loss of a family member, loss of a job, or divorce. Also, it could have manifest due to their genes within their family history. And don’t be afraid to inquire about other relatives or family members. This can create a good dialog and conversation because most people may feel ashamed and reluctant to talk until urged to do so.
In this case, familiarize yourself with their symptoms and daily activities. Get to know their experiences of dealing with mental illness and depression. If they become isolated and severely depressed for several weeks and suddenly began showing signs of being extremely happy, then this is a reason to be alarmed. It could be a silent call for help which is often overlooked by family members.
In most scenes, I usually asked families if the deceased suddenly went from sad to happy. A lot of times the answer would be yes. For instance, the person quits their job and pretend they got another one or started fixing stuff around the house or suddenly request to visit different venues to spend more time with family. When this occurs, be cautious and alert. Immediately, have them visit their psychiatrist for professional medical attention. But remember the keyword is “Suddenly.”
Relationships And Financial
These two types of suicides go hand in hand and it’s really tough to diagnose. Why? Because we all had a relationship and financial problems at some point in our lives. But the majority of us choose not to commit suicide. These symptoms are often unrecognizable due to the privacy of their home life. In this case, you need to dig deeper, be direct and ask, “Are you planning to kill yourself?”
And regardless, if those suicidal thoughts are present or not, this will create a dialog that gives you more insight into their mindset. Plus, it shows that you care and are aware of their pain.
In any event, someone going through a difficult time often needs a hug and a long meaningful conversation. Especially, if they’re men. The male species tend to hold things inside and not talk about our feelings because it can be construed as being weak and unable to take care of the family. This being the case, the majority of men will remain silent throughout financial hardship, stress, and pain thus possibly leading to possible suicide. Therefore, they insist they visit a therapist or psychiatrist. But don’t be alarmed if he resists at first. It’s just a mechanism hoping you are weak enough to leave him alone.
Summary of Warning Signs Adults
As you can tell by now suicide warnings signs adults are similar in nature. But will differ in teenagers. You can identify some adult warning signs by being attentive to their normal behavior and daily routines. Watch for withdrawal symptoms such as isolation from family, friends and even pets.
And if anyone says they’re going to hurt or kill themselves, take it seriously, and recommend a licensed professional counselor, a peer group or psychiatrist.
These are only guidelines to assist you in recognizing some suicide warning signs adults. Realistically, there is no way to prevent all suicides but we can continue to offer good solutions. Remember, suicide notes are rarely found prior to death so be vigilantly for anyone who suddenly updates their will.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be contacted at (800-273-8255).
Also, you may want to visit my article on High Blood Pressure.
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