Difference between Suicide and suicidal behavior.

What is suicide and suicidal behavior?

Taking of one’s own life is suicide. If a person is thinking of taking one’s own life, it should be considered as psychiatric emergency. It is hard to identify if someone is experiencing suicidal thoughts because you don’t know what a person is feeling inside.

Suicidal person doesn’t want to take his/her life but end the pain they are feeling. It may seem scary, but reaching out for help  to mental health professional is important and courageous step.

Symptoms or warning signs:

There are certain outside symptoms a suicidal person must be contemplating:

•If the person is feeling hopeless, trapped or even alone.

•They think that they don’t have any reason to continue living.

•The person must be finding ways to self harm.

•The person feels sleepy all the time

•The person eat a lot or eat very little which results in weight gain or weight loss.

• Use of excessive alcohol, drugs etc.

• A suicidal person avoids social interaction and prefer staying alone.

•The person feels anxious or nervous.

• They generally experience a lot of mood swings.

• They think or talk about suicide and feel it’s the only way out.

•Not taking interest in activities that used to matter.

If you suspect any of these symptoms in your friends or family, talk to them regarding your concerns. Try having a conversation with them by being a non Judgmental person. Talk to them openly, and make sure you stay calm and understanding during the conversation. Support and encourage the person to reach out for help.


Some causes that can lead to suicidal thoughts can be family history of suicide and violence. A history of child abuse is also a cause.

It was known that 90% of the people who died because of suicide were suffering from mental illness. Mental illness is commonly linked with isolating behaviour correlating with suicide.

Other reasons can be financial problems, death of loved ones, end of relationships etc.

Having physical illness or other health related issues can also lead to suicidal thoughts. The risk of suicide increases with the patients suffering from painful diseases as they wish to end their pain. Health professionals should be alert during such situations or during intentional non adherence to treatment as they wish to end their life.

One major reason of suicide can be not consulting for professional help because of fear or stigma. A lot of people prefer keeping their mental health issues to themselves because of the stigma attached with it. They don’t share what’s going inside their mind because of fear.

Excessive consumption of alcohol or drugs can lead to the feeling of hopelessness. The excessive use can also lead to manipulation of neurotransmitters which are responsible for mood and judgement.

Suicide is common among all the age groups, racial groups and socio economic groups all across the world. With the right help, a suicidal person can get full recovery and live a happy productive life. Sometimes a person with suicidal thoughts won’t share his/her feelings because of judgmental behavior or because he/she is worried how you will react so make sure you encourage them to share their feelings if you suspect even a slightest change in your friends/family’s behavior.


Treatment for people who are at the major risk of suicide:

•Talk therapy also known as psychotherapy is one possible treatment for suicidal thoughts. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one such talk therapy which can be used to talk to people with suicidal thoughts.

• If therapy is not helping you in coping the suicidal thoughts, taking medications(prescribed by professional doctor) can help in easing symptoms such as depression, anxiety etc. Treating these symptoms can also help to eliminate the suicidal thoughts. Taking medicine as prescribed and not increasing or decreasing the dosage until advised by the doctor.

• Another way by which suicidal thoughts can be eliminated is by changing lifestyle or adopting healthy habits. Healthy habits can include avoiding drugs alcohol, exercise regularly or sleeping well.

•You should never skip your appointment. Attending all your therapy sessions is also very important. The best way to eliminate your suicidal thoughts is by sticking to your treatment plan.

•Getting rids of any sharp objects, firearms or any serious medication is also very important.

•Always stay hopeful.

• Pay attention to the warning signs you must be experiencing. Work with the doctor to discuss about the events which you think are triggering you into suicidal thoughts. Make sure you  tell these warning signs to your close ones so they also know when you might need help.

It is important to know that when suicide occurs everyone suffers even the ones left behind. Guilt and anger are common feelings felt by the loved ones left behind because they think what they might have done to help. Even though you’re feeling alone right now, know that there are a lot of people who are willing to help you to get through this tough times.

Never ever try dealing with these thoughts alone and try reaching out for help. If you are having suicidal thoughts challenge your thoughts by thinking through reality and by spending time with your loved ones. It may feel awkward in the start but it is important to reach out for help in these moments and help yourself as well as your loved ones.

What do you think?

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Written by Shruti sharma

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Athya Ashraf

The terms suicide and suicidal behavior are often used interchangeably while they are not one and the same. Well written.
Keep up the good work!

Aanchal Sharma

There’s difference between suicide and suicidal behavior that’s need to be understand. So the person with suicidal behavior doesn’t end up doing suicide.
That’s really a good article.
Nice work