What is Suicidality?
Suicidality refers to thinking about or being preoccupied with taking one’s own life. This can range from occasionally thinking about suicide to actually giving it serious consideration. It can also include role playing and actual attempts at suicide.
Suicidality is associated with severe depression and should be taken seriously. Suicide hotlines are available to help people with suicidality get past the desire to commit suicide.
A variety of behaviours may indicate that someone is considering suicide:
- Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves
- Talking about feeling empty, hopeless or having no reason to live
- Making a plan or looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online, stockpiling pills or buying a gun
- Feeling unbearable pain (emotional or physical)
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Talking about great guilt or shame
- Talking about feeling trapped or feeling that there are no solutions
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Giving away important possessions
- Saying goodbye to friends and family
- Putting affairs in order, making a will
- Using alcohol or drugs more frequently
- Acting anxious or agitated
- Changing eating and/or sleeping habits
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Taking big risks that could lead to death, such as driving extremely fast
- Talking or thinking about death often
- Displaying extreme mood swings, suddenly changing from very sad to very calm or happy
Ketamine and Suicidality
Ketamine is effective in reversing severe depression that is resistant to traditional anti-depressants. It has a quick antidepressant effect, and also puts a rapid end to suicidal thinking.
A recent study on ketamine for suicidality, conducted by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) found that Ketamine was significantly more effective than sedatives that are commonly used for depressed patients with suicidal thoughts. They also found that ketamine’s anti-suicidal effects occurred within hours after its administration.
The findings were published on December 5, 2017 in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
Given its quick action, ketamine is ideally suited to addressing suicidal thoughts, since a rapid response is required. Standard anti-depressants often require weeks to take effect, but if someone is thinking about suicide, there is no time to waste in treating them.
Suicide in Connecticut
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, with almost 45,000 Americans dying by suicide each year. In 2017 there were 384 deaths by suicide in Connecticut: Suicide was the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 10 to 34, and the 12th leading cause of death overall in 2017.