We have often been asked the question, “Are suicidal thoughts normal?” The short answer is that Suicidal Thoughts are Not Normal. Most people do not have suicidal thoughts. However, there are times when suicidal thoughts are a normal symptom that is a part of a mental health problem. Some of the most common issues where suicidal thoughts occur are listed below.
Suicidal Thoughts are a Common Symptom of Depression
Suicidal thoughts are a normal symptom that tends to come with depression. In fact, the greater the depression, the more severe and frequent the suicidal thoughts tend to be. Unfortunately, many people who experience severe depression begin to ruminate about dying and often begin to think that suicide is a solution to their pain. What they often don’t realize is the thoughts of suicide are a symptom of their depression and that their depression can be successfully treated.
Suicidal Thoughts Can Occur with Severe PTSD
Suicidal thoughts are also common in people who have experienced severe trauma and are suffering from severe PTSD. For example, some combat veterans who have been repeatedly exposed to traumatic experiences may begin to experience suicidal thoughts once they return home. Some of the more common issues that contribute to these suicidal thoughts include unresolved grief, unresolved guilt or remorse, relentless anxiety, inability to sleep, nightmares, flashbacks, and depression. Unfortunately, many people often hide their internal struggles and are reluctant to seek help. As a result, their suicidal thoughts are often hidden from others. If you have severe PTSD don’t cut yourself off from getting the help that you need.
Suicidal Thoughts Are Common in Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trauma
Suicidal thoughts are also common in people who have experienced severe sexual abuse trauma. This frequently occurs because of the overwhelming nature of the being repeatedly violated. When someone experiences repeated sexual abuse, they often learn to dissociate from their body. They learn to “escape the abuse” in their mind by detaching from the pain in their body and visualizing being somewhere else. Over time, they begin to feel like the abuse is happening to someone else and not themselves. This extreme detachment often comes with thoughts of dying. A typical thought process might work something like this: “If I wasn’t here, I would be safe. If my body wasn’t here, I wouldn’t be getting hurt. If I could get rid of my body, I could get away from this. If I were dead, I would be safe, and everything would be OK.” The suicidal thoughts thus become a way of imagining a way out of the abuse. Over time, these thoughts of dying may re-occur when stressful situations arise or when unresolved trauma re-emerges. Fortunately, therapy can help a survivor of abuse overcome the trauma and develop healthier coping skills.
Suicidal Thoughts are Common in People with Personality Disorders
Suicidal thoughts frequently occur when someone is struggling with personality disorders. This is particularly common for individuals who have Borderline Personality Disorder. Individuals with this disorder often have intense feelings of abandonment and rejection and will often swing between idealizing others and devaluing them. They tend to have “all or nothing” thinking and, as a result, may feel like life is not worth living when they feel rejected. The combination of the intensity of their emotions and their impulsiveness often leads to suicidal thoughts or gestures. Individuals with this disorder often benefit significantly from therapy, especially when they work with a therapist who is experienced in treating personality disorders.
Suicidal Thoughts can Occur with Addiction
Alcoholics and addicts often struggle with feelings of guilt and shame about their addiction. They frequently try to hide these feelings from others, but internally they know how out of control their lives have become. Many alcoholics and addicts also struggle with feelings of depression and anxiety. They tend to cope with these feelings by drinking more or doing more drugs. Unfortunately, this tends to increase their feelings of depression and hopelessness which can lead to thoughts of suicide. In addition, because alcohol and drugs decrease a person’s inhibitions they can also make them more impulsive which can increase their risk of acting on their thoughts of suicide. Fortunately, with help, an addict can learn to overcome their addictions and learn to live a healthier life.
New Dimensions Can Help!
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms or problems, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.
Our affiliate, MHThrive, provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit www.mhthrive.com to learn more.