Which Psychiatric Disorders Can Cause Suicidal Ideation?

Many things can cause suicidal ideation in people – from the feeling of lost hope and life difficulties to psychiatric disorders. Suicidal ideation does not happen by chance – there are always underlying causes that make people start thinking of suicide.

What are the psychiatric disorders that can cause suicidal ideation?

Psychiatric disorders are medical conditions that affect behavior, thinking, and mood. The following psychiatric disorders have a common link with suicidal ideation:

  • Bipolar disorder 
  • Depression 
  • Schizophrenia 
  • Anxiety disorders (this includes post-traumatic stress disorder and panic disorder) 
  • Personality disorders 


Depression is a psychological health issue marked by persistent sadness and loss of interest. Even though most people who suffer from depression do not commit suicide, being depressed increases the risk of suicidal ideation compared to people who do not suffer from depression.

The severity of the depression has a link with the level of suicide contemplation by people who are depressed. While approximately 7% of men with a history of depression may think of committing suicide throughout their lifetime, only 1% of women with a depression history contemplate suicide.

Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is connected to severe mood swings – ranging from extreme highs to depressive lows. Bipolar disorder is also known as manic depression. A psychiatric medical report states that the majority of individuals with bipolar disorder experience suicidal ideation at least once in their lifetime.

Medical studies also suggest that suicidal ideation mostly happens in people with major psychological disorders like bipolar disorder. According to the study, most people who committed suicide lived with suicidal thoughts for a long time.

These are some of the factors proven to increase the risk of suicidal thoughts in patients who have bipolar disorders:

  • The early stage of bipolar disorder
  • Family history of mood disorder and suicide 
  • Long duration of untreated mental illness
  • A history of previous suicide attempts
  • Aggressive and impulsive traits
  • Frequent hospitalizations 
  • Unemployment and occupational problems
  • Adversities in personal history, like childhood trauma

Also, people with bipolar disorder usually harbor thoughts of committing suicide just after being admitted to the psychiatric hospital, the time after the clinical psychiatrists discharge them from the psychiatric hospital, and the early years after they are diagnosed with the medical condition.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

According to the National Health Service (NHS), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric medical condition that describes an extended response to a disturbing event or situation of a destructive or threatening nature. Medical psychiatrists postulate that PTSD can cause suicidal ideation in people with PTSD, especially when their condition has become severe and they are not getting the necessary help they need.

The risk of suicide or suicidal contemplation is higher in people with PTSD and poorly controlled anger, pre-trauma psychiatric conditions, distressing trauma memories, bad impulse control, and concurrent depression. In addition, people with PTSD are likely to be unable to express feelings, increasing the chances of them experiencing suicidal ideation.

Final Thoughts

Reports show that a higher percentage of patients with cases of attempted suicide have psychiatric disorders. People with psychiatric disorders are more prone to think of suicide as a way to end their condition than patients with simple disorders. However, ketamine infusion therapy has been shown to decrease suicidal ideation across mood disorders. If you or someone you know is suffering from suicidal ideation, contact us today to learn about how we can help.


Why Don’t People Talk About Suicide?

While people often talk about physical ailments or medical conditions, they rarely openly discuss mental health issues they may be experiencing. This could happen for many reasons, but prevention efforts may lag if we don’t understand why people don’t talk about suicide.

Warning Signs for Suicide

If you suspect that someone is contemplating suicide but aren’t ready to talk with that person yet, there are warning signs to watch for:

  • Potential substance abuse
  • Destructive behavior
  • The person self-isolates from loved ones and the community
  • Dramatic shifts in mood 
  • Impetuous or reckless conduct
  • Accumulating drugs or purchasing a weapon
  • Giving away personal belongings
  • Getting their personal affairs in order
  • Making the rounds with final good-byes

Facts About Suicide

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers suicide a serious public health risk. Here are some facts to be aware of:

  • Suicide resulted in nearly 46,000 deaths in 2020.
  • Suicide affects people of all ages and is a leading cause of death for people 10 to 64 years old.
  • More than 12 million adults thought about suicide in 2020.
  • Suicide results in one death every 11 minutes.
  • It’s estimated that suicide costs America $70 billion annually.

Risk Factors

The CDC estimates that 46% of people who die by suicide experienced a documented mental health condition. Risk factors to watch for include:

  • Family history.
  • Substance abuse.
  • Intoxication at the time of the suicide attempt.
  • Access to lethal means to attempt suicide.
  • History of abuse or traumatic situations.
  • Lengthy periods of stress and inability to manage it.
  • Suffering a personal loss or tragedy.

If you think someone is considering suicide, reach out to that person. Talking to them may be a key to prevention.

Are Women More Susceptible?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that women are more likely to try suicide than men, but fewer go through with it compared to men. This could be because men often use more lethal methods, including firearms, hanging, or suffocation. On the other hand, women make attempts by trying to poison themselves by overdosing on prescription or non-prescription medicine. Unfortunately, recent data paints a chilling portrait – that women may be starting to use more lethal means just like men.

Reasons Why the Topic of Suicide is Largely Avoided

One of the biggest reasons people don’t talk about suicide is the stigma underpinning the topic. Even now, it’s often a taboo subject. There are three kinds of stigma that we can talk about specific to suicide, but which also apply to many other sensitive topics:

  • Stigma is a big reason why some people don’t get help for mental illness. This is when someone perceives you badly due to a unique characteristic or personal attribute that they think is a disadvantage. This negative stereotype is often experienced by a person struggling with mental illness.
  • Social stigma. When talking about health topics like suicide, social stigma refers to the negative link between someone or a group of people who have a stake in certain features and an explicit disease. This could result in someone facing discrimination, being labeled, typecast, being treated apart from others, or experiencing a loss of standing because of a supposed connection with a disease.
  • Perceived stigma/self-stigma is when the person internalizes their perception of discrimination related to mental illness and fails to seek care because of it.

Other reasons people don’t talk about suicide may include public humiliation and shaming, which is part of the broader discussion of the dangers of the stigma of suicide. Today, with mobile devices, fast internet connections, and social media, instances of embarrassment have been known to drive people to suicide because they feel ashamed and can’t talk about what is going on.

Diagnosis & Treatment

If you’re considering suicide, get immediate medical care. Your healthcare provider or mental health specialist is best equipped to handle a diagnosis, which may rely on:

  • Your overall mental health. Assessment will include asking about symptoms, thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and personal and family history of suicide attempts and mental illness.
  • A physical examination to determine if there’s a medical reason for symptoms.
  • Assessing evidence of alcohol or substance abuse.
  • Determining whether any medicine you take is affecting your mental health.

If you or a loved one is in an emergency, call the suicide prevention hotline for immediate help. Standard treatment options for non-emergency situations often include psychotherapy, prescription medicine, self-help, or ketamine therapy based on your health and the symptoms you’re experiencing.

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