Suicide and Depression

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Depression refers to a psychiatric condition that affects an individual’s moods and behaviors. Depression, depending on the cause and personality of the patient, may be moderate or severe (Tebbe & Moradi 2016). Many people experience depressive symptoms, but since few people attend clinical diagnosis psychiatric sessions, they are not conscious. People sometimes associate stress with depression, thus. One of the characteristics of depressive symptoms is the patient’s desire to commit suicide (Krakow et al., 2000). After facing internal and external challenges, an individual can quickly develop a major depression disorder that can stimulate suicidal thoughts. When a person lacks the necessary social support when faced with depression, they are likely to consider suicide as the only way out of their problems. The purpose of his paper is to establish the link between depression and suicide. The paper is divided into four sections. Just after this introduction, the second section explains what is meant by the term depression. The third section looks at suicide as a psychosocial problem then the last section draws conclusions from the findings.

Understanding Depression

Depression refers to a form of mental illness that affects people from different backgrounds. While stress is temporal and harmless to most people, depression has a serious risk to the patient. People often feel stressed when under pressure to perform in the workplace or school but as soon as the pressure is over, the body and mind revert to their usual mode of operation (Bauer et at., 2014). Depression has a lasting effect on the behavior and mental health of an individual (Bauer et al., 2014). Some of the common symptoms of depression include lack of sleep, moodiness, desire to be alone, forgetfulness, and suicidal thoughts.

Psychologists believe that depression is caused by a myriad of external and internal factors. People with physical deformities or young people who record poor performance in school may develop depression due to their self-pity or low self-esteem. A bisexual and transgender individual were likely to develop depression because of the stigmatization they face in the society (Tebbe & Moradi, 2016). Many people with chronic illnesses are at risk of developing depression if they do not receive enough social support from their families (Krakow et al., 2000). Physical or emotional suffering can induce depression. For example, bullying in school over a prolonged period can make a child develop depression. People who have lost their jobs or source of income can develop depression as they enter into a state of hopelessness.

Unfortunately, people realize a person is undergoing depression when it has become worse, usually, only when an individual attempt to commit suicide or becomes mentally unstable, the society pays attention to their problems and provide professional help. The public should learn to consult psychiatrists before their mental situation worsens (Groff et al., 2016). Any signs of severe stress of moodiness should warrant a visit to the physicians for professional diagnosis. Parents and teachers have a significant role to play in monitoring the behaviors of the adolescents who have a high risk of depression because of their hormones (Lamis et al., 2010). Changes in their behaviors should trigger close observance to ensure they are not mentally unstable or on the verge of developing depression.

Suicide as a Psychosocial Problem

Suicide is both a psychological and social issue that affects thousands of people across the world. Many individuals suffering from depression are prone to develop suicidal thoughts, and in most cases, the underlying cause of suicide is the depression and lack of social support (Tebbe & Moradi 2016). Those who commit suicide acquire a condition referred to as “learned helplessness” (Krakow et al., 2000). After going through a depressive situation for a long time without support from family or friends, an individual tends to accept the depressive position and can easily opt for suicide as the only way out. Human beings value their social systems such that when they feel they are neglected or unwanted, they quickly develop suicidal thoughts (Krakow et al., 2000).

The social aspect of suicide manifests when individuals going through stressing situations in life receive negative reactions from those around them. For example, adolescents who face bullying in school can resort to suicide because they feel unloved and unwanted by their immediate society. Social cohesiveness is critical for the psychological wellness of individuals (Groff et al., 2016). Apart from the general support from family and friends, there is also the aspect of intimate relationships. When lovers or spouses break up, depressive symptoms develop as the separated individuals try to adjust to life without their partners. Many young people consider suicide after being rejected by their lovers. In such cases, depression is caused by a sudden break in social support. Individuals who go through traumatizing breakups are always advised to seek professional help or support from friends to avoid sliding into depression. Adolescents are particularly prone to suicide because of losing loved ones either through death or breaking up (Kodish et al., 2016).

Suicide is also closely associated with trauma. When people go through severe distress or shock, they develop Post–Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which co-occurs with depression. Individuals who face a violent situation such as rape, domestic violence, or even soldier who go to war have PTSD (Krakow et al., 2000). The same applies to people who witness traumatizing situations such as journalists covering wars, homicide police, and rescue personnel. If their PTSD is not attended professionally, they can develop depression and later on suicidal symptoms. It is imperative to offer long-term counseling to people who face traumatizing situations (Groff et al., 2016). Many of such people withdraw into alcohol and drug abuse to run away from the traumatizing images playing in their minds. They need support from their families and friends to refocus their attention to significant aspects of life.

However, even though suicide is often associated with depression, in some cases, suicide is an escape mechanism. Individuals who are afraid to face an embarrassing situation opt to commit suicide without going through a depressive phase (Lamis et al., 2010). For example, an individual found guilty of a crime can decide to face death instead of being arrested and arraigned in court. Such cases of suicide are not associated with either depression or social issues. They are caused by the innate fear of a victim that may often be unfounded and exaggerated. Nonetheless, the majority of suicide cases are associated with psychiatric and social disorders.

In fact, a behaviorally induced depression due to alcoholism and drug abuse is also common causes of suicide, especially amongst young people. Young people who abuse drugs gradually degenerate into depression (Lamis et al., 2010). They start by developing low self-esteem characterized by shabbily dressing and poor grooming. Neglecting their personal hygiene indicates that they do not value themselves. What follows is a gradual development of suicidal thoughts as they realize they are of little use to the society after being addicted. Some drugs make the victim develop hallucinations that can haunt them and drive them into suicide (Lamis et al., 2010). However, the study found that alcohol is not one of the leading causes of depression since most of the alcoholics have strong social support from their fellow drunkards. More so, majority of young people engage in drinking alcohol as a social activity as opposed to using it as a withdrawal mechanism

Conclusion

In conclusion, the study establishes that depression and suicide are closely related. The majority of the suicide cases have a connection with individuals going through depressive situations without social support from family members or friends. Everybody faces challenges in life that can easily generate into depression if not handled in the right manner. The society should be aware of the early signs of depression such as taking drugs, body negligence, and extreme moodiness. If such symptoms are visible, then it is critical to offer professional help to the individual. However, for the mild cases of stress, the society can seek other solutions such as resting or retreating to a cool place to recover gradually. People who show depressive symptoms should not be left alone because they can easily think of committing suicide.

References

Bauer, R. L., Chesin, M. S., & Jeglic, E. L. (2014). Depression, Delinquency, and Suicidal Behaviors Among College Students. Crisis, 35(1), 36–41. DOI: 10.1027/0227-5910/a000226

Groff, E. C., Ruzek, J. I., Bongar, B., & Cordova, M. J. (2016). Social constraints, loss-related factors, depression, and posttraumatic stress in a treatment-seeking suicide bereaved sample. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 8(6), 657. doi.org/10.1037/tra0000128

Kodish, T., Herres, J., Shearer, A., Atte, T., Fein, J., & Diamond, G. (2016). Bullying, depression, and suicide risk in a pediatric primary care sample. Crisis, 37(3), 241–246. DOI: 10.1027/0227-5910/a000378

Krakow, B., Artar, A., Warner, T. D., Melendrez, D., Johnston, L., Hollifield, M., … & Koss, M. (2000). Sleep disorder, depression, and suicidality in female sexual assault survivors. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention, 21(4), 163.

Lamis, D. A., Malone, P. S., Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J., & Ellis, T. E. (2010). Body investment, depression, and alcohol use as risk factors for suicide proneness in college students. Crisis, 31(3), 118–127. DOI: 10.1027/0227-5910/a000012

Tebbe, E. A., & Moradi, B. (2016). Suicide risk in trans populations: An application of minority stress theory. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 63(5), 520 –533. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/cou0000152

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