The Association Between Depression and Suicide

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Depression and SuicideResearch shows that there is a strong connection between suicide and depression. Approximately 90% of people who have committed suicide were also suffering from a mental illness at the time of their deaths. Let’s take a further look at the connection between suicide and depression in more detail.

Symptoms of Depression and Suicide

Everyone feels sad at times, but if despair and desolation takes hold of your life, you may be suffering from depression. Depression can make it tough to function and enjoy everyday life. Even getting through one day can be overwhelming and exhausting.


 Symptoms of depression include:

  • Feeling fatigued all of the time.
  • Drinking more alcohol than normal and engaging in reckless behavior.
  • A change in appetite and sleep patterns.
  • Loss of interest in activities, friends and other things you once enjoyed.
  • Constantly dwelling on negative thoughts.
  • Difficulty concentrating.

Suicide is defined as someone ending their own life, typically as an escape from pain and suffering.

Symptoms of suicide include:

  • Consuming more drugs and alcohol than normal.
  • Believing that there is no hope for the future/no reason to live.
  • Thoughts of killing yourself.
  • Feeling extremely worried or scared.
  • Unable to control anger.

Suicide Linked to Mood Disorders

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it’s estimated that 121 million people are currently suffering from depression worldwide. Approximately 9.5% of women and 5.8% of men can experience bouts of depression at any given time of the year. By 2020 it is estimated that depression will become the second most common cause of disability after heart disease. Women are twice as likely to be diagnosed and treated for depression; however, research shows that major depression may be more common in men than statistics indicate, since men are less likely to seek medical attention for it.

Studies show that mood disorders, such as depression, are common psychiatric conditions associated with suicide. The risk of suicide varies with each type of depression. Let’s take a further look at the association:

Postpartum Depression and Suicide

In many countries suicide is one of the leading causes of death for new mothers. In many of these cases, women are suffering from postpartum depression. Between eight to 15 percent of women suffer from postpartum depression; however, the condition is usually manageable. Severe postpartum depression, on the other hand, has been linked to elevated suicide risk. The risk is significantly higher in the first year after childbirth.

Bipolar Disorder and Suicide

It is estimated that bipolar disorder is one of the leading causes of worldwide disability. Men and women are affected equally and suicide risks are 15 times higher for bipolar disorder patients compared to the general population. Studies show that suicide risk amongst bipolar patients could be reduced through adequate drug treatment as well as treatment of depression.

Schizophrenia and Suicide

Nearly 24 million people suffer from schizophrenia worldwide and it’s estimated that schizophrenics have a 40% lifetime risk of attempting suicide. According to a study conducted by the WHO, the most common cause of death for schizophrenia patients is suicide and it is more likely to occur in the early stages of the illness.

5 Natural Ways to Cope With Depression

  • Exercise: By exercising, you may be able to alter the mood-regulating brain chemicals serotonin and norepinephrine.
  • Mood diary: A mood diary is a great way to keep track of the positive things that are happening in your life. It will help you remember that despite the negative aspects of life, good things do happen.
  • Support group: Support groups offer prime opportunities to learn from and support others who are dealing with similar mood disorders.
  • Meditation: Research shows that meditation plays a key role in preventing a depression relapse. Specifically, there are less incidents of relapse for people who meditate compared to people who solely take antidepressants.
  • Saffron: A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology suggests that saffron may increase the levels of serotonin in the brain. The study examined 38 people over a six-week period and found that saffron was as effective as “Prozac” in reducing symptoms of depression.

Read Next :

Sources for Today’s Article:
“The Link Between Depression and Suicide,” Suicide Awareness Voices of Education web site,, last accessed November 23, 2015.
“Depression Symptoms and Warning Signs,”,, last accessed November 23, 2015.
“What is suicide?” Here to Help web site,, last accessed November 23, 2015.
“The Relationship between Suicide and Mental Illness,” Canadian Mental Health Association web site;, last accessed November 23, 2015.
Worth, T., “12 Nondrug Remedies for Depression,”,,,20526272,00.html, 12 Nondrug Remedies for Depression, last accessed November 23, 2015.

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Dr. Victor Marchione, MD

About the Author, Browse Victor's Articles

Victor Marchione, MD received his Bachelor of Science Degree in 1973 and his Medical Degree from the University of Messina in 1981. He has been licensed and practicing medicine in New York and New Jersey for over 20 years. Dr. Marchione is a respected leader in the field of smoking cessation and pulmonary medicine. He has been featured on ABC News and World Report, CBS Evening News and the NBC Today Show and is the editor of the popular The... Read Full Bio »