Causes of Suicide
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Suicide can best be described as the destructive act of voluntarily taking one's own life. Suicide often presents a real and often tragic puzzle to be solved by friends and family, and any other professionals who have been involved with someone who has committed suicide. To be able to definitively answer the question as to why an individual would commit such a deadly act seems to be a highly complex task. The victim himself or herself, is perhaps the least aware of the answer to this ninth leading cause of death. Scientists have discovered that the cause of this fatal behavior can be found both within and without the individual. Whether biological, sociological or psychological the question remains as to which one will provide explanations to suicidal behavior. Or perhaps, could the answer be that all these factors are somehow interrelated. Whatever the case may be the statistics are frighteningly real.
There is more suicide deaths than homicides in the United States every year. Unbelievably so, suicide is in fact the ninth leading cause of death in the United Stated. For the young, consisting up to the age of fifteen, it is the third cause of death in the United States. Rounded to the nearest second, on average, every seventeen seconds one person will complete this self-destructive act resulting in death. Men account for eighty percent of all suicides in the United States and are more likely than women to be successful at killing themselves. There are, rounded to the nearest person, one female suicide completion to every four male suicide completions. Suicides committed using firearms make up over sixty percent of the population that has committed suicide. Of this sixty- percent of firearm suicide, white men make up eighty percent of this statistic. Every year there are seven hundred seventy-five thousand suicide attempts in the United States. It is estimated that five million Americans have attempted suicide. For every male suicide attempt there are three female attempts. The majority of overdose attempts is unsuccessful and account for seventy percent of suicide attempts (SFSP: U.S. Suicide Statistics, 1996).
It is estimated that for every suicide there is six survivors close to the victims that are affected. The statistics are stunning. How can we understand better why individuals would take their own life (McIntosh, 1997)
The conclusion that suicide is closely related to psychiatric illness is what researchers have come up with. The three diagnoses with the highest risk are depression, alcoholism and schizophrenia. Seventy percent of suicides would have been diagnosed with major depression. Fifteen percent would have been diagnosed with alcoholism and four percent from schizophrenia. Researchers have used two methods to come up with these findings. The first one, the researchers find out what proportion of people who have committed...