PSY303: Abnormal Psychology
Instructor Belinda Atchison
September 3, 2013
Have you ever felt like the world was tumbling in on you and that no matter what you did you just could not seem to get ahead? Have you had trouble just making yourself get out of the bed and do simple mundane things like take a shower or walk to the mailbox to check the mail? Can you even imagine that your life seemed so troubled that the only peace or happiness you could foresee is that of suicide? If you are like most of us, you have suffered through a bout of depression at one point or another in your lifetime. Most of us are able to “snap ourselves out of it” and go on with our everyday lives but then there are others who simply cannot shake that feeling of bleakness, desolation and despondency. Clearly, there are those who are predisposed to suicidal ideations. Although there are significant myths about suicide, the characteristics or personalities of those who are predisposed do share some commonalities. Some of the more common myths are that those who talk about suicide do not actually do it, lower class individuals have a higher prevalence, everyone who commits suicide is depressed, those who commit suicide want to die, and lastly one of the most disturbing, those who are unsuccessful at their attempt were never intent on killing themselves (Getzfeld & Scwhartz, 2012). If one were to look at the actual facts it would be noteworthy that those who commit suicide are not from any certain defined social or ethnic class, they might not suffer from a mental disorder and that most contemplating suicide make someone aware of their plans in hopes that their plan will be dismantled prior to initiating it.
The word suicide in itself could be defined as a self-inflicted death where the person deliberately, consciously, and intentionally acted to kill themselves. Suicide is not a mental disorder; it does not appear in the DSM–IV–TR, nor does it have a specific treatment. In some times and places, suicide has even been socially acceptable. However, today, even though our social views in the United States are considered more tolerant, suicide is often considered a social disgrace (Getzfeld & Schwartz, 2012).
In assessing someone for the risk of suicide, different criteria are used. One tool utilized is the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS). This is a checklist that identifies all risks that might be present now or in the patient’s past. This information is gained through interviewing of the patient, the patient’s family and previous healthcare providers. Some of the things that the assessment measures are feelings, emotions, and beliefs as well as the presence of a set plan for suicide. Each section is rated on a number scale according to the level of intensity. Risk factors, protective measures and behaviors are measured as well. Ultimately this tool is supposed to be instrumental in determining which patient’s need further or more extensive hospitalized care and those that can be released to home care. Further risk factors might include: * Age and sex: Suicide rates are higher still amongst older men over 65. The risk for women increases with age with post-menopausal women at particular risk. * Race and ethnicity: Far more Caucasians complete suicide. Hispanics and Africans have much lower suicide rates in their native countries, but their rates increase following emigration to countries such as the USA. * Employment: Recent research suggests that in regions of very high unemployment, unemployment is more socially accepted and suicide rates are not increased in these regions. * Occupations at increased risks: Certain groups may be at increased risk of suicide by virtue of their occupation. These include doctors (anesthetists and psychiatrists), nurses, dentists, veterinarians, pharmacists, armed forces and police, farmers. These groups all…