Warning Signs of Suicide in Older Adults
Suicide rates increase with age and are highest among white men age 65 and older. Divorced and widowed men in this age group have the highest suicide rates, and their most common method of suicide is firearms.
The following warning signs may be present in older adults who have a high risk for suicide:
- Depression. Older adults have higher rates of depression than the general population.
- Other mental health problem, such as severe anxiety, bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), or schizophrenia
- Alcohol or substance abuse
- Being alone for long periods of time (social isolation)
- Being preoccupied with death in conversations
- The diagnosis of a serious physical illness
- Recent life change, such as the death or chronic illness of a spouse or child, retirement, or financial problems
- Physical disabilities
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an advisory on antidepressant medicines and the risk of suicide. Talk to your doctor about these possible side effects and the warning signs of suicide.
Take any mention of suicide seriously. If someone you know is threatening to commit suicide, get help right away. To learn more, see Suicidal Thoughts or Threats.
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer David Messenger, MD
Current as ofOctober 17, 2013
Current as of: October 17, 2013
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & David Messenger, MD
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