You may have heard the term “suicidal ideation” before, but what does it mean? Suicidal ideation refers to thoughts about suicide. Suicidal ideation can range from fleeting ideas about death or self-harm to detailed plans for carrying out suicide.
What Is Passive Suicidal Ideation?
Passive suicidal ideation, also called passive suicidal thoughts, is when a person has thoughts about suicide but doesn’t make any active attempts to end their life. Passive suicidal ideations can be very distressing and anxiety-provoking for the person experiencing these thoughts. And while it may not be life-threatening, passive suicidal thoughts can gradually develop into more active suicidal thoughts and lead to attempted suicide or death by suicide.
Is It Normal To Have Suicidal Thoughts?
You are not alone if you have been experiencing persistent intrusive thoughts about suicide or hurting yourself. Many people have these thoughts at some point in their lives. In 2020, research showed that over 12 million Americans aged 18 years and above had mild to severe suicidal thoughts.
However, just because these thoughts are common does not mean they are normal or healthy. Having suicidal thoughts can signify severe emotional and psychological anguish caused by deep-seated mental health illnesses like depression or anxiety. Statistics show that up to 90 percent of people who die by suicide have previously experienced symptoms consistent with mental illness.
And with suicide quickly becoming a significant public health crisis and one of the leading causes of death in the country, it is more important than ever to reach out for help if you’re experiencing any form of suicidal thoughts.
What Causes Passive Suicidal Ideation?
There is no single cause of passive suicidal ideation. Instead, a combination of factors are thought to contribute:
- Physical and emotional trauma/abuse
- Chronic stress
- Major life transitions or losses
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Social isolation
- Severe, untreated mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder
- Lack of social support or a safe, stable home environment
- Chronic pain or terminal illness
Whatever the cause, it is essential to remember that you are not alone, and resources are available to help you. Whether talking with a therapist, joining a support group, or taking medication as prescribed by your doctor, there are many ways to manage and overcome negative thought patterns and regain control of your life.
Managing Suicidal Ideations
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating passive suicidal ideation. Treatment will depend on the unique factors and circumstances surrounding each case.
Some people respond better to therapy, while others find medications more effective. Lifestyle changes have also proven to be instrumental in managing suicidal ideations and symptoms of mental illness.
Passive suicidal ideation is not typical, but it’s relatively common, especially among those with mental disorders. If you’re experiencing suicidal ideation, there are proven treatments available that can help you overcome these thoughts and start living a healthier, happier life.
Your doctor or mental health professional can help pinpoint the cause of your suicidal thoughts and design a personalized treatment plan to help you manage these distressing thoughts. Treatment options include medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes.