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What are the Most Common Reasons for Suicide?

Suicide is a complex issue, often stemming from mental health struggles, such as depression and anxiety, traumatic experiences, substance abuse, or feelings of hopelessness. Social isolation and chronic illness can also be significant factors. Understanding these reasons is crucial in prevention efforts. How can we, as a society, better support those grappling with such challenges? Continue reading to explore further.
Christina Edwards
Christina Edwards

Usually, those left behind after a suicide are asking themselves why their loved one took his own life. Reasons for suicide are almost limitless and can be anything from a recent job loss to a political statement. The most common reasons for suicide include mental illness and substance abuse. Some people also commit suicide so they won't have to face serious punishment or disgrace, or for political, religious, or military reasons.

Not surprisingly, many experts agree that one of the most common reasons for suicide is some type of mental illness. Depression and schizophrenia are the two most common mental illnesses that are associated with suicide. Depression alone afflicts roughly one out of every six people in the United States, and almost half of all people who commit or attempt suicide have been diagnosed with some type of mental illness.

Mental illness is the most common reason for suicide.
Mental illness is the most common reason for suicide.

Individuals who abuse alcohol or other mind-altering substances are also considered to be more likely to commit suicide. Generally speaking, individuals under the influence are considered to be much more impulsive, since most substances impair a person's judgment. Many times, alcohol can act as a mood-enhancer, and combined with major depression, it can possibly push someone to do things that he normally wouldn't do, such as attempt suicide.

Having a mental illness like depression can cause a person to commit suicide.
Having a mental illness like depression can cause a person to commit suicide.

Sometimes, individuals try to commit suicide without actually meaning to or realizing that they could die. Many times, these people are attempting to cry out for help. Unfortunately, they make a mistake, and end up dying. Erotic asphyxiation and oxygen deprivation are sometimes thought to be reasons for suicide, but most of the time, these are accidental deaths.

Heavy drug usage contributes to suicide.
Heavy drug usage contributes to suicide.

Criminal acts and public disgrace are other reasons for suicide. Sometimes, when people commit a violent crime, such as murder, they commit suicide to avoid the consequences. They can either commit suicide directly after the crime, often known as murder-suicide, or wait until some time after the crime was committed.

One famous example of this involves the German Nazis after World War II. Many of these leaders committed suicide during the Nuremberg trials to avoid prosecution. A United States politician, R. Budd Dwyer also committed suicide to avoid prosecution and disgrace after he was convicted of taking bribes while in office. In 1987, during a live television broadcast, he gave a speech then promptly put a pistol in his mouth and pulled the trigger.

Individuals who are depressed and traumatized may be at increased risk for suicide.
Individuals who are depressed and traumatized may be at increased risk for suicide.

Politics, religion, and military tactics have also all been reasons for suicide. Individuals who commit suicide for these reasons typically believe that their deaths serve a great purpose. Examples of these types of suicides include suicide bombers and kamikaze pilots.

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Discussion Comments

Drentel

The strange thing about suicide is that it can be so hard to tell when a person is having suicidal thoughts. The people who kill themselves are sometimes the ones who seem to have everything to live for. You just never know.

Sporkasia

Climate can greatly influence mood and thus suicide attempts. Having lived in a couple of communities that virtually shut down during the winter because of snow and inclement weather, I have seen how people's mood can be affected when the days get short and cold, and snow starts to pile up.

Some people with seasonal moods disorders will seek warmer and sunnier climates during the winter because for them bad weather can be a reason for suicidal thoughts.

Animandel

The life changes that often accompany old age commonly lead to depression in the elderly. For this reason, many seniors are prime candidates for suicidal acts. Elderly men should be watched more closely for suicide prevention because of the greater frequency of men committing suicide.

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    • Mental illness is the most common reason for suicide.
      By: Lisa F. Young
      Mental illness is the most common reason for suicide.
    • Having a mental illness like depression can cause a person to commit suicide.
      By: Kzenon
      Having a mental illness like depression can cause a person to commit suicide.
    • Heavy drug usage contributes to suicide.
      By: Creativa
      Heavy drug usage contributes to suicide.
    • Individuals who are depressed and traumatized may be at increased risk for suicide.
      By: WavebreakmediaMicro
      Individuals who are depressed and traumatized may be at increased risk for suicide.
    • An abusive home life might cause a child to consider suicide.
      By: Piotr Wawrzyniuk
      An abusive home life might cause a child to consider suicide.
    • A loss of faith can contribute to suicide.
      By: Magdalena Kucova
      A loss of faith can contribute to suicide.
    • A person facing severe physical pain might consider suicide as an escape.
      By: ambrozinio
      A person facing severe physical pain might consider suicide as an escape.
    • Post-traumatic stress syndrome may cause a person serving in the military to commit suicide.
      By: Monkey Business
      Post-traumatic stress syndrome may cause a person serving in the military to commit suicide.