Suicide Prevention – Medical Cannabis May Help
Suicide is a painful issue that we, as a society, need to discuss widely and carefully. This September inaugurates National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and it is a good time to discover how suicide thoughts show themselves and how to help a person who is possibly on the brink of taking their life.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people. Often it is a consequence of mental health conditions. Research says that 90 % of those who committed suicide had a mental illness. However, suicidal thoughts may affect anyone, regardless age, gender or social background. The risk factors may include a family history of suicide, substance abuse, access to firearms, severe chronical illness, stress or past trauma.
Suicide thoughts can be a sign of deep underlying mental or physical issues. Something is terribly wrong and suicidal thoughts are one of the indicators that a person needs help. Unfortunately, often they just don’t know where or whom ask for it. The consequences of lack of aid and attention can be horrible.
According to National Alliance on Mental Illness, warning signs may include:
- Speaking of killing themselves, also known as a suicidal ideation. Even if someone says seemingly harmless ‘I wish I were not here’ it is possible that he or she need help. With time these comments may become more overt and threatening.
- If you see that someone drinks or uses drugs more and more, it is possibly a time to give a hand. The increased consumption of these substances may indicate serious mental issues.
- If someone becomes aggressive and provokes other people, there is a possibility of a mental or physical battle under the hood.
- If someone is getting more and more distant, withdraws themselves from family and friends, probably, something is happening.
- If you notice that someone’s mood changes drastically, and they act erratically and reckless, there is a sign of trouble.
If you see a person who behaves like this, ask for help immediately:
- They put their affairs in order and give away their possessions;
- They say goodbye to friends and family;
- One moment they seem despaired and then suddenly totally calm;
- They look for anything they can commit suicide with, or they already plan to get it.
Since most of those who committed suicide were battling mental illness, there is some hope. Medical cannabis may not save all the lives, but increasing access and use of it may help to fight problems that lead to suicide.
According to a study that was conducted over the 17-year span (1990-2007), the suicide rates for young men have dropped by roughly 10 percent after a medical cannabis legislation in some states. Scientists pointed that ‘marijuana can be used to cope with stressful life events.’ It is not the only outcome – cannabis may help fighting depression. Depression is a common symptom of many serious medical conditions. Often, it is linked to severe chronic pain. Prescription drugs are simple to abuse, and many patients, unfortunately, end up doing it. It is dangerous, especially regarding that people who battle depression and chronic pain are more likely to abuse alcohol and opiate drugs to manage their illness. Together, alcohol and opiates may increase a risk of suicide.
Patients who are choosing medical cannabis report achieving sustainable results. Marijuana calms anxiety and brings relaxation so people may ease their symptoms. In states with legal medical marijuana, an amount of overdose deaths from opiate drugs decreased by 25 percent. Also, in the handling of their symptoms, medical cannabis may become a safe alternative to alcohol. Drinking is correlated to an increased risk of suicide, and use of medical marijuana for relieving conditions and mental issues may help to decrease a rate of alcohol consumption and severity of side effects.
The Bottom Line
If you noticed that someone shows the signs of behavior we mentioned earlier, offer them help or encourage them to seek professional care. If you are not sure that you observe the signs of suicidal behavior, consult a medical professional or a social worker. If you think that someone needs immediate assistance, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Paying attention to your loved ones and people around may save lives.