Traumatic experiences among PTSD patients can lead to suicide attempts, says study

Traumatic experiences among PTSD patients can lead to suicide attempts, says study

Whenever an incident or event steers a person toward extreme stress that affects his or her ability to cope with the circumstance, it is referred to as a traumatic event. Depending on an individual’s personal experience, the kind of trauma experienced could be both psychological and physiological in nature.

Such situations, incidents or events have the potential to overwhelm an individual emotionally, cognitively or physically. At the end, these disturbing experiences trigger exaggerated and irrational fears related to death and injury and incite psychosis. When a person displays the above-mentioned symptoms, he or she is said to be suffering from psychological trauma. Such trauma survivors also run the risk of committing suicide.

Severity of PTSD symptoms determines the risk of suicide

With a dearth of literature addressing suicide risk among individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a group of researchers at the Boonshoft School of Medicine – Wright State University sought to address this gap by investigating the relationship between individual symptoms of PTSD and suicide attempts. This study, one of the first to examine such a co-relationship, found a crucial role of PTSD in pushing trauma survivors toward suicide.

The study, published in the online edition of The Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders and conducted from October 2014 to February 2015, was led by Jeffrey Guina, M.D., clinical assistant professor of psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry at the Boonshoft School of Medicine.

Using the technique of self-reporting, it examined the relationship between suicide attempts and demographics, trauma types, PTSD symptoms, substance-related problems and benzodiazepine prescriptions. From the 1,000 surveys distributed, around 76.8 percent returned with empty or unattended sections on suicide attempts and PTSD symptoms. Moreover, around 480 people reported a history of trauma.

The study found that the risk of suicide depended on the severity of PTSD symptoms, childhood maltreatment and substance-related problems. Therefore, it becomes essential to screen the patients for the PTSD symptoms strongly associated with suicide, such as recklessness, anhedonia (inability to feel happiness in normally pleasurable activities) and negative beliefs about oneself.

Some previous studies suggest that the presence of highly intrusive memories can predict the relative risk of suicide in people with PTSD, as well as the level of anger and impulsivity. Some cognitive styles of coping with stress, such as using suppression, may be able to predict the risk of suicide in PTSD patients.  Since patients generally hesitate from sharing their trauma-related problems with family, friends and clinicians, the awareness of the above-mentioned warning signs can help one in diagnosing the problem.

Survivors of childhood abuse more prone to suicide

Additionally, it indicated the high correlation between several types of trauma and suicidal behavior. Compared to other traumatic experiences, people who have gone through childhood abuse are more prone to suicide.

The present study found that individuals with a history of childhood physical abuse were three times at risk of attempting suicide than other trauma survivors. Moreover, those grappling with alcohol-related problems were also three times more at the risk of committing suicide than those without drinking problems. Prescription benzodiazepines were also associated with suicide attempts but this connection was partially explained by PTSD severity.

As mentioned above, one could predict suicidal tendencies among trauma survivors and provide a better platform to prevent and prevent their problems.

Help prevents suicide

Suicide, the act of ending one’s own life, is a tragic and terrible consequence of traumatic experiences, such as rape, child abuse, war, etc. Such incidents can inflict unimaginable emotional repercussions on the survivors and their families.  Though it is not an easy task to identify a suicidal person, awareness of the warning signs can dissuade him or her from committing suicide. Additionally, it would be helpful to remember to accept professional help.

If you or your loved one is suffering from any mental health problem, contact the California Mental Health Helpline for guidance on the reputed mental health centers in California that offer comprehensive treatment programs. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-559-3923 or chat online with one of the specialists to get advice on the best mental health treatment centers in California.