Crisis Lethality and Dynamics of Suicide

Dynamics of Suicide

Cases of suicide have been on increase especially in western countries. It is believed that people commit suicide to evade problems perceived to be worse than death (Conner, Britton, Sworts & Joiner, 2007). According to Conner et al., (2007), when individuals are in irecipitating conditions, they cannot manage or cope with their problems (Conner et al., 2007). Suicide becomes inevitable when death is perceived to be the only feasible solution. In this regard, people commit suicide to get rid of consciousness so that they cannot fee pain (Conner et al., 2007).

Most suicide cases are caused by psychological pain (Conner et al., 2007). It should be noted that physical pain also causes psychological pain (Conner et al., 2007). People are likely to commit suicide if some vital psychological needs are not met (Conner et al., 2007). For example, a depressed person needs emotional support. If such support is not available, the person can get overwhelmed and resort to self-destruction.

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Suicide can also be triggered by fear. In this case, victims may foresee problems that are beyond their ability to manage. Fear of worsening of existing problems can also trigger suicide. Up to this point, one can conclude that people commit suicide because they believe their problems are beyond the benefits of living. Individuals in such conditions need immediate reassurance and redefinition of life.

According to the interpersonal theory of suicide, there are two interpersonal constructs that increase suicide risks when they occur at the same time (Joiner, 2005). In this regard, there is a perceived burdensomeness condition in which people feel their existence only causes stress to others. After being rescued from suicide, most individuals claim they wanted to free their family members and friends from their burdensome lives (Joiner, 2005). This is common among individual who cannot support themselves due to some impairment. Therefore, too much reliance on other people is a risk factor for suicide. The other condition is lack of sense of belongingness. People who feel side-lined by family members and friends experience emotional stress. Under such circumstances, one can easily consider suicide. When lack of sense of belongingness and sense of burdensomeness occur together, life loses meaning and, consequently, suicide becomes inevitable (Joiner, 2005).

Suicide and the Moral Dilemma

Some terminal diseases are characterised by too much pain. In this regard, sometimes patients request for assisted suicide when pain becomes intolerable (Joiner, 2005). Such situations present some form of dilemma to healthcare providers because of two reasons. First, doctors and nurses are trained and expected to save lives. Aiding in suicide would amount to doing exactly the opposite. Secondly, it is unfair to stop a patient who is in too much pain from getting rid of it. It is also unethical to ignore patients’ wishes during healthcare provision. Under such circumstances, the dilemma should be resolved through right legal procedures (Joiner, 2005).

Characteristics of People who Commit Suicide

All people who commit suicide are depressed. Similarly, more than 50% of depressed people attempt suicide. Suicide is also common among patients suffering from mood disorder (Hawton, Clements, Sakarovitch, Simkin & Deeks, 2001). Hawton et al. (2001) found that 30% of mood disorder patients commit or attempt to commit suicide. Although suicide is associated with all age brackets, it is common in people between the ages of 46 and 59. Suicide is more common among whites than non-whites and among men than women. Single and divorced people are more associated with suicide as compared to their married counterparts. Individuals taking white collar jobs are more associated with suicide as compared to those taking blue collar jobs. In addition, people who have been previously hospitalised for mental illness are more likely to commit suicide as compared to other people (Hawton et al., 2001).

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Similarities between Suicide and Homicide

Research has established that homicide positively correlates with suicide (Hawton et al., 2001). In this case, homicide rate has been found to increase when suicide rate increases. This should not be interpreted to mean that one has a causal effect on the other. Another similarity is that both originate from lack of happiness. In homicide, anger is directed to other people while in suicide, it is directed to one’s self. Both suicide and homicide are more common in men than women. This implies that both activities are connected to emotions. It has also been established that people who commit homicide are likely to destroy themselves and those who attempt suicide are violent to others (Hawton et al., 2001).

Use of Triage Assessment form in Addressing Lethality

Triage form is used to assess the extent of medical conditions for the purpose of assigning appropriate interventions (Nock, Joiner, Gordon, Lloyd-Richardson & Prinstein, 2006). Triage form can be used to collect information regarding suicide risk factors. Acute risk factors include mention of suicide by a patient, state of hopelessness, and general loss of interest in life. Depending on the assessment outcomes, the form has entries for high, moderate and low suicide risks as well as their respective interventions. Patients at high risk should be admitted and assessed further by a mental health specialist. Patients at moderate risk should be monitored to prevent execution until they exhibit mental stability. Patients at low risk can be satisfactorily monitored by family members (Nock et al., 2006).

References

Conner, K., Britton, P., Sworts, L., & Joiner, T. (2007). Suicide attempts among individuals with opiate dependence: The critical role of felt belonging. J. Addictive Behaviors, 32, 1395-1404.

Hawton, K., Clements, A., Sakarovitch, C., Simkin, S., & Deeks, J.J. (2001). Suicide in doctors: A study of risk according to gender, seniority, and specialty in medical practitioners in England and Wales. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 55, 296-300.

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Joiner, T.E. (2005). Why people die by suicide. Cambridge: Harvard University.

Nock, M., Joiner, T., Gordon, K., Lloyd-Richardson, E., & Prinstein, M. (2006). Non-suicidal self-injury: Diagnostic correlates and relation to suicide attempts. J. Psychiatry Research, 144, 65-72.

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