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How to Deal with Thoughts of Suicide

Learn how to deal with depression and thoughts of suicide from psychiatrist Ankur Saraiya in this Howcast video.


Because suicide is so final and so tragic, it's very important for psychiatrists to err on the side of safety. But I want to talk about the fact that suicide is not necessarily an abnormal thought. It's not necessarily a sign of major illness. In some ways it's perfectly natural for people to have thoughts that life is too overwhelming when something very bad has just happened. And the important thing is to be able to talk about these ideas and these thoughts, to help understand whether it is a sign that somebody is developing an actual depressive episode. Or more importantly, if it's a sign that somebody's actually gonna act on these things, versus whether it is a signal that somebody is in a particular period of distress in their lives. So suicidal thoughts are best evaluated by a mental health professional who can help somebody work through them and understand them. But it's important to know that having suicidal thoughts doesn't mean you're gonna end up medication, it doesn't mean you're crazy, it doesn't mean you're gonna end up in the hospital. But because it can be a sign of very significant distress, and we don't want it to lead to actual suicide attempts, it's very important to have these things evaluated and to be able to talk openly with your doctor about having these thoughts. And there are things that can be done to help address the thoughts, and to help people feel better so they don't act on suicidal thoughts or suicidal thinking. The best way to manage suicidal thoughts is to go ahead and get an evaluation by a psychiatrist and to understand that there are a variety of options and that generally speaking you're not going to be forced to do anything. But you are gonna be made to feel, and be kept safe, if you're having and struggling with suicidal thoughts.

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