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Bipolar Disorder and Suicide

People with bipolar disorder are at great risk for suicide if they are not getting treatment. The National Mental Health Association reports that 30%-70% of suicide victims have suffered from a form of depression. Men commit almost 75% of suicides, even though twice as many women attempt suicide.

Risk factors for suicide include:

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Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is an illness in which a person has periods of high mood and energy and other times of depression. People diagnosed with bipolar disorder usually have one or more major depressive episodes along with one or more manic or mixed episodes. Bipolar mania is a prolonged state (at least one week at a time) of extreme elation or agitation accompanied by excessive energy. Symptoms of the manic "highs" include increased energy, racing thoughts and fast speech,...

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  • Having mental and substance abuse disorders
  • Family history of mental or substance abuse disorders
  • Having attempted suicide previously
  • Having a family history of physical or sexual abuse
  • Having family members or friends who have attempted suicide
  • Keeping a firearm in the home

If you or someone you know is at risk for suicide -- and has shown warning signs -- do not leave them alone. Seek the help of a health care professional right away. People often talk about suicide before they attempt it, so pay close attention to what they are saying and take them seriously.

Some warning signs of suicide include:

  • Talking about suicide
  • Always talking or thinking about death
  • Making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless
  • Saying things like "It would be better if I wasn't here" or "I want out"
  • Worsening depression
  • A sudden switch from being very sad to being very calm or appearing to be happy
  • Having a "death wish," tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death, like driving through red lights
  • Losing interest in things one used to care about
  • Visiting or calling people one cares about
  • Putting affairs in order, tying up lose ends, changing a will

Call 911 if You:

  • Think you cannot stop from harming yourself
  • Hear voices
  • Want to commit suicide
  • You know someone who has mentioned wanting to commit suicide

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on July 08, 2014

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