LivingInsomnia and suicide are related

Insomnia and suicide are related

Suicide is a serious public health problem: in 2015 3,602 people died by suicide in Spain according to data from the INE, which is estimated to be the leading cause of unnatural death among Spaniards.

By age, suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people between the ages of 15 and 24 in developed countries; the fourth among adults aged 35-45 years, and among the fifth in people aged 45 to 65 years.


How are insomnia and suicide related?


Insomnia and suicidal thoughts seem to be closely related. It was already suggested in 2013 by a study published by the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, which concluded that Specific evaluation and treatment of specific sleep problems can reduce the risk that people with depressive symptoms decide to kill themselves.

The study used psychometric tests to objectively assess the mental state of 50 patients with depression receiving treatment in hospital, outpatient or emergency services. The participants were between the ages of 20 and 84, 72 percent were female, and 56 percent had previously attempted suicide at least once.

“Insomnia and nightmares, which are often confused and go hand in hand, are risk factors for suicide .” according to W. Vaughn McCall, director of the School of Medicine of the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the University of Georgia Regents (USA).

Participants had a moderate degree of insomnia symptoms, on average, using the Insomnia Severity Index. Although hopelessness is related to suicidal ideas, it was not significantly linked to insomnia, dysfunctional beliefs or nightmares, but the three sleep variables did correlate with suicidal thoughts.

The researchers found that when insomnia and suicidal thoughts were considered in isolation, insomnia was, unsurprisingly, a predictor of suicidal thinking . “It turns out that insomnia can lead to a very specific type of despair and hopelessness by itself, making it a powerful predictor of suicide,” McCall concludes.



How to prevent suicide

Nightmares and dysfunctional beliefs and attitudes about sleep may represent new targets for suicide prevention.

But, in addition, there are red flags that we must pay attention to. First, it is falsely accepted that the person who wants to commit suicide does not announce it. But, in fact, it is estimated that 90% of people who commit suicide are repeat offenders (stemming from failed attempts) or had previously expressed their intention.

In addition, drug abuse, sudden changes in mood or attitude, self-harm or the placing of personal matters, goodbyes … These are warning signs that could indicate a suicide intention.

Suicide and other disorders

Depression is another big risk factor for suicide. It should be noted that 90% of people who commit suicide suffer from some type of mental disorder. Especially depression. Other disorders that occur frequently in suicide are bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and borderline personality disorder.

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