Re: Emotional Plague

David Scott (
6 May 1995 13:55:38 GMT

"But life, being weary of these worldly bars,
Never lacks power to dismiss itself." ...William Shakespeare

Each year in the United States, more than 25,000 wearied,
despairing people will say no to life by electing a permanent solution
to what may be a temporary problem. In retrospect, their families and
friends may recall signs they now believe should have forewarned them -
the suicidal talk, the giving away of possessions, or the withdrawal
and preoccupation with death. One-third of those who kill themselves
have tried suicide before.

Few of those who talk suicide or think suicidal thoughts (a number
that includes one-third of all adolescents and college students)
actually attempt suicide, and few of these succeed in killing
themselves (Centers for Disease Control, 1989). Still, most
individuals who do commit suicide have talked of it. And any who do
talk suicide are at least sending a signal of their desperate or
despondent feelings.

To find out who commits suicide, researchers have compared the
suicide rates of different groups.

National differences are puzzling: The suicide rates of Britain,
Italy, and Spain are half that in the United States; those of Austria,
Denmark, and Switzerland are nearly double (Bureau of the Census,

Racial differences are intriguing: In the United States, Whites
are twice as likely as Blacks to kill themselves.

Group differences are suggestive: Suicide rates are higher among
the rich, the nonreligious, and the unmarried - including the widowed
and divorced.

Gender differences are dramatic: Women are much more likely than
men to attempt suicide. Depending on the country, however, men are two
to three times more likely to succeed. (Men are more likely to use
foolproof methods, such as putting a bullet into the brain.)

Age differences have vanished: Due partly to improved reporting,
the known suicide rate among 15- to 19-year-olds has more than doubled
since 1950 and now nearly equals the traditionally higher suicide rate
among adults.

Suicide often occurs not when the person is in the depths of
depression, when energy and initiative are lacking, but when the person
begins to rebound and becomes capable of following through. Teenage
suicides may follow a traumatic event, such as a romantic breakup or a
guilt-provoking antisocial act, and are often linked with drug and
alcohol abuse. Compared to people who suffer no disorder, alcoholics
are roughly 100 times more likely to commit suicide, as some 3 percent
of them do. Even among those who have attempted suicide, alcoholics
are five times more likely than nonalcoholics eventually to kill
themselves. Among the elderly, suicide is sometimes chosen as an
alternative to future suffering. In people of all ages, suicide is not
necessarily an act of hostility or revenge, as many people think, but
may be a way of switching off unendurable pain.

Social suggestion may trigger the final act. Following highly
publicized suicides and TV programs featuring suicide, known suicides
increase. So do fatal auto "accidents" and private airplane crashes
(some of which disguise suicides).

Contrary to popular opinion, there are fewer suicides on holidays
such as Christmas than at other times of the year.

..from my Psychology 101 textbook "Psychology" by David G. Myers

o \o/ _ o __| \ / |__ o _ \o/ o
/|\ | /\ __\o \o | o/ o/__ /\ | /|\
/ \ / \ | \ /) | ( \ /o\ / ) | (\ / | / \ / \
"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired
signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are
not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." Dwight Eisenhower