Suicide As A Solution: What Causes People To Kill Themselves?

Author: ecobear | Date Posted: 12th July 2017 | Category: Suicide

Suicide by definition is when someone acts intentionally to cause their own death. Numerous factors can play roles that influence whether a person decides on committing suicide. Almost all people experience suicidal thinking at some point throughout the course of their lifetimes. This is because everyone deals with hard times, but some people get dealt a rougher hand or more harsh circumstances that occur. Suicidal thoughts can come about due to past traumatic experiences, mental health problems, dealing with a physical illness, social stress factors or the individual ability to handle emotional depression.

People are frequently driven towards suicide as a solution, if they view their current life circumstances as totally hopeless and they feel there is no other way to change things to achieve a better outcome. Although people can call crisis hotlines or seek counseling when feeling suicidal, these are not going to guarantee solutions, but also many people question whether these will even be helpful to them.

Public opinion about suicide brings up many different issues. Some solutions presented by the general public include suggestions like: the banning of all firearms, the development of better mental health treatment options, and aid for those in economic crisis. The majority of people that decide to commit suicide do so because they are experiencing some kind of painful situation and don’t know any way to get out of it. There is much work still needing to be done, when it comes to providing more effective ways to assist people who are struggling with suicidal thoughts.

Statistically as many as a million people die each year because of suicide, the numbers that attempt suicide unsuccessfully are probably equally as high or even greater. Without anyone to reach out to in times of crisis, many people never even seek other options that could help avoid their own demise. So it is really up to other people around us to recognize why people consider suicide as a solution, then try to recognize if they are having suicidal thoughts. Listed below are a list of possible reasons why people maybe in a suicidal state and might be thinking of their own life.

Most Common Reasons People Commit Suicide

This list is designed to help understand the possible reasons a person maybe considering committing suicide. If a person is suicidal, it maybe possible to recognize their suicidal state leading up to the actual act, but it is not always that simple. A large number of suicides result from some form of untreated depression, data shows that up to 90 percent of individual suicides occur during a depressed mental state. Although there are many other possible related causes outside the realm of mental illness that will be presented here. These can include, but are not limited to post traumatic stress, substance abuse, chronic pain conditions, being terminally ill, or having an existential crisis. So keep an open mind and understand that one thing is probably not the sole cause of suicidal thoughts or attempts to commit suicide.

Prescription Drug Use

There are side effects associated with nearly all prescription drugs used today. Drugs like antidepressants are known to result in suicidal ideas and thoughts. What this means is that most prescription drugs can negatively impact neurotransmitter levels and put a person at significant risk of having suicidal thoughts. Many prescribed pills and antidepressants have been found to increase depressive states because they are used to target neurotransmitter levels, even though the source of their depression was not due to a chemically imbalanced problem. Prescription drugs are problematic, if the doctor giving them does not properly monitor the patient and adjust the medication accordingly. If someone is using prescription drugs without a physician supervising it, this is not only illegal, but can be very dangerous. Prescription drug use is a huge problem in modern times and contributes to suicide death rates every year.

Illegal Drugs and Alcohol

Just like prescription drug use contributes to suicide rates, so does the abuse of street drugs, alcohol and illegal substances. The users of street drugs and alcohol have many stigmas brought upon them by modern society, so to avoid being shamed or arrested these users both avoid seeking help for their problems. Avoiding feelings of guilt or shame about being an addict, causes their addiction to become a significant problem in their everyday life. Feeling like an outsider from the mainstream society means they become more and more isolated, so that their lives become more unmanageable as a whole. Substance abuse of all kinds can contribute to suicidal thinking, but street drugs and alcohol are especially damaging to the individual. Suicide rates and addiction are collaboratively rising throughout the world hand in hand.

Financial Issues

Times of economic crisis are a leading factor in many suicide attempts, but are also a factor in many successfully carried out suicides. In times of financial crisis, people get depressed and often face emotional breakdowns. The stress caused by money problems is a trigger that many people cannot face, especially when they are left alone to deal with it. Losing your home, losing your job or losing your ability to pay bills, all are significant in contemplating suicide. The person in financial crisis often comes to believe that they have nothing left to contribute, because they have no way out of their economic situation. This is damaging to the self-esteem and leads to rash or more impulsive thinking, which can lead to considering suicide as an option.

Chronic Pain

People on long term disability or work related injuries are susceptible to chronic pain issues. Management of chronic pain can cause many significant health problems, high medical bills to pay, stress from daily living, and inevitably addiction to prescription medications. All these factors together are enough to impact individuals, so they eventually have suicidal thoughts at times. These people just want the pain to go away and it becomes a never ending struggle with no relief. Such situations are very hard to manage, even with proper health care and counseling. This is why suicide becomes a consideration for those that suffer from chronic pain problems. Often there is little that can convince such individuals there is really a better way to deal with their lives.

Terminal Illness

Euthanasia is becoming an ethical debate in the United States, because many who suffer from terminal illnesses see self-assisted suicide as an option. Their life quality is often so limited that the terminally ill person would rather die, than go on living without dignity and in constant pain. This is still considered suicide, even if the person chooses it for themselves. If someone assists them, that individual can be put through the legal court system and charged with manslaughter or possibly a higher crime akin to murder. Terminal illness cases are at significant risk for ending in suicide. Even with a loving support system around them, the terminally ill have very high rates of suicide in modern times, perhaps understandably so.

Relationship Issues

When a relationship ends on any terms, it is an event with highly charged emotions and can lead to states of overwhelming depression. Often a person gives up on life, since their relationship ending invalidates them as a person. Their social world falls apart and the feelings of loneliness take a toll on their self worth. Without making changes in their life that counterbalance the loss, many people become lost and fixate on the lost relationship. They become desperate to convince their love to come back, if this does not succeed, they may contemplate suicide. Some love related suicides are actual attempts to get their loved one to notice them. In all cases, these suicides are a cry for help and more likely to succeed than other types of suicide attempts. Validation is a major factor in suicidal tendencies, the lack of it is sometimes the final straw before committing the act of killing oneself.

Being Lonely or Isolation

As is true for relationship breakups, many life situations cause a person to become lonely or trapped in personal isolation. Being alone can be stressful, because people become inwardly focused, often forgetting about the rest of the world or assuming the outside world does not care about them. In reality, the outside world often has no idea that these people were on the brink of killing themselves. Isolation has a way of making the individual lose track of time, as days turn into weeks, and weeks turn into months. The isolated person is likely to engage in other behaviors which compound the possible contemplation of suicide. Being lonely is emotionally stressful, but also all feelings are only validated by the person feeling them. Soon it begins to feel like sadness is all there is, anger is all there ever will be, and soon suicide seems like a way to eradicate all those negative feelings. The lonely person usually sees suicide as a kind of sweet release, and has no other input to draw from.


Being without a job has so many peer and social stigmas attached to it, but living in the world without a job also complicates issues that contribute to suicidal thinking. Unemployment is another source of great stress for most people, especially those with families to support or married persons. Being unemployed often leads to losing your home, child custody and may precede getting divorced. Such losses only compound the negative self image a person has for themselves, but also unemployment takes away the main social circle they have relied upon. Not having co-workers maybe a terrible thing to face, as their life becomes more isolated from the outside world. Many people lose their job and end up being homeless a short time afterward. All these are high risk stress factors that can significantly build up, leading to suicide attempts.

Eating Disorders

Dysfunctional eating patterns are thought to be related to low self-esteem, body image issues, and sometimes mental health problems. Eating disorder maybe a coping mechanism a person uses to deal with unrelated or subconscious stress caused by abuse, emotional troubles, communication problems, or possibly an identity crisis. Eating disorders are a way to take control over these unresolved life situations. Anorexia, bulimia, binge or purging diets, and compulsive overeating all put a person in negative states of mind. Anyone dealing with an eating disorder, probably can justify having suicidal thoughts or contemplate committing suicide. Let alone poor diets contribute to feeling depressed due to constant nutritional deficiencies, but also stress caused by hunger.

Personality Disorders

People with personality disorders have trouble keeping relationships in tact, often are steadily unemployed, and cannot cope with daily life well. With these complicated and compounded problems, people with personality disorders often go untreated for long periods of time. They are often dependent on abusive or negative situations in order to survive, but also avoid social contact because they fear rejection or not fitting in. This results in highly isolated lives without friendships or people they can trust to voice their problems. Without hope of escaping these many complications in life, the person dealing with a personality disorder maybe at higher risk for suicide, and might see it as the only possible option available to them.

Bullying or Hazing

In recent times, the impact of bullying and hazing rituals have become a publicized concern in society. The stress level of someone being harassed can elevate quickly, so that they are living in fear and feel paranoid about everything. The person is picked on at first, but this can lead to a variety of emotionally charged states. Hazing has the added factors of social acceptance by a peer group and being successful within a chose sector of society. Hazing rituals in college fraternity groups put extremely high pressure on students trying to impress their parents and society, failing can be seen by these people as being a failure overall. The stress of bullying and hazing has contributed to deaths and suicides in numerous modern criminal investigations.

Traumatic Experiences

Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is a condition that develops following highly charged experiences involving violence, assault, serious injuries, and warfare. It is characterized by blacked out memories and repetitive flashbacks to the traumatic event that happened. People with PTSD live in constant states of intensity, apprehension and sometimes reliving the moment or acting out what was done to them. PTSD events can be physically abusive situations, sexually violent experiences, or other forms of violence. Soldiers experience a PTSD form called shell shock. All these traumatic experiences lead to higher rates of suicide in their statistical groups and should be considered high risk factors for suicidal tendencies.

Family History and Genetics

Having witnessed a suicide or a family history of suicide put a person in a high risk grouping, one that only some individuals will ever experience. Therefore genetics and family history play a bigger part in suicide risk factors, than many people like to consider. This is not saying that suicide is passed from generation to generation, but if experiences are linked to our DNA, this maybe possible. In all families, a suicide ends up being a very emotionally charged event and causes stress throughout all family members. This is something that needs to be handled, whether with counseling or just talking about it with other family members. All cases of suicide have tremendous impact on the families involved, putting others at higher risk for suicidal thinking or wanting to join lost family members in death.

Existential Crisis

When a life feels void or without meaning, people will come to question their purpose, why they exist, or why they are even alive. This type of contemplation is known as an existential crisis and can cause difficult to overcome stress for any individual. The one good thing about an existential crisis is that having one is quite normal, even a little mundane. Because all people have them in stressful situations, they maybe the key to avoiding suicidal thoughts, since the crisis is a healthy way of evaluating life. Although sometimes the philosophical desire to know the meaning of one’s own life can add to the stress of living, and some existential crisis sufferers conclude that life is not worth living. This can cause a person to commit suicide, if nobody talks them through the crisis or cares to notice their situation.

Mental Illness

The most common cause of suicide is mental illness. Even when mentally ill people are given medication, counseling and proper treatment, it is not going to guarantee their mental state will ever change. Mental illness can manifest in a variety of forms like anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. Patients will often work with a trained physician to balance out their mental problems, sometimes trying more than one medication in a cocktail formula to get at the root of their illness. This can go on for years or longer. Mentally ill patients suffer from a combination of medication withdrawal, side effects of experimental therapies, and general malaise from being in continual pain. This is why mental illness is a primary contributing factor in so many suicides today.


Hopefully this list of possible causes of suicide will bring some understanding to those surviving such events in their world. We do not always know why people kill themselves, but we can understand what leads people to choosing suicide as a solution. One day perhaps, we will be able to help people avoid this extreme and final decision in life.

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