Active Suicidal Ideation Vs Passive

Suicidal ideation (SI) is a state of severe depression, characterized by unbearable thoughts and feelings. A state of severe emotional pain in which you think death is only a means of escape. However, you can save a life—either your own or someone else who has thought about suicide.

In the United States, 47,500 people commit suicide every year. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death, especially in younger adults (aged 15-24 years). It is assumed that when people attempt suicide or say they want to die, they are either in a depressive state or experiencing a lot of emotional pain.

Active vs passive SI! Are people who have active suicidal ideation at risk? And how can you help if someone says they want to die? The article will cover everything you should know about suicidal ideas.

Active Vs Passive SI

Suicide is a tragic approach to intolerable life. Suicidal thoughts can affect any gender and any age at any time. People may commit suicide passively, or sometimes they plan to self-harm or kill themselves.

Researchers and other experts categorized suicidal thoughts into active and passive SI. Both suicidal thoughts are distinctly different from each other. Passive suicidal ideas don’t involve any suicide plan, whereas active suicidal ideation comes with a plan to self-harm.

Let’s discuss both of these ideas one by one.

What Is Passive Suicidal Ideation?

When someone thinks or wants for death to end their life without any planning, it is known as passive suicidal ideation. Feelings of loneliness, hopelessness, sorrow, depression, or anxiety frequently lead to passively suicidal attempts. Many people may suicide passively several times throughout their lives who have chronic mood disorders.

Passive suicidal ideations are dangerous, but they don’t put you at immediate risk of ending your life. Likely, people with passive suicidal ideas engage in careless behaviors about their health, mental well-being or safety.

Examples of passively suicidal thoughts include:

“I wish I die in my sleep.”

“It won’t be a big loss if this plane crashes.”

“My life is worthless.”

“I wanna kill myself.”

“No one cares about me.”

“Everyone hates me.”

“I should die.”

If you’ve experienced similar feelings, there are strategies to deal with these passively suicidal thoughts and begin to feel better. Discuss your thoughts and feelings with a loved one, any close friend, or someone else you can trust.

What Is Active SI?

Active suicidal ideation is more severe than passive. Active suicide ideation is a state when you intentionally think about specific ways to kill yourself or when you have a plan to do so. A preplanned suicidal attempt is known as active SI.

So, it is when someone really intends to kill themselves or commit complete suicide. Put simply, any thoughts that relate to someone’s own death and the actual planning to carry it out are counted as active SI.

Active suicidal ideation is linked to sex (mostly females commit active suicide). Active SI is not a mental health disorder but could be a warning sign that you have developed a mental illness.

According to a self-report questionnaire, active suicidal thoughts were reported by 32.2% of female students aged 13–16. Marital status, sexual minority status, ethnicity status, greater depression severity, and extreme emotional pain are significant causes of active SI.

Usually, suicidal individuals use the following methods to commit suicide.

Likely, men use more lethal methods to commit suicide, such as firearms, guns, or hanging. In contrast, women use less violent methods to attempt suicide, such as overdosing, drugs, poisoning, or cutting.

passive vs active suicidal ideation
Common methods to commit suicide used by men and women

According to psychiatrist Paul Nestadt of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine;

Suicide is also shockingly impulsive. Most people who decide to do it act within an hour, and over a quarter do it within five minutes. The likelihood of dying during such a time is significantly decreased by not having access to a deadly weapon.

Paul Nestadt

Signs and Symptoms of Suicidal Thoughts

Whether you or anyone else is thinking about suicide, see the warning signs to save a life from suicidal attempts. Psychologists break down suicidal ideas into three categories.

Behavioral Manifestations

  • Frequently talking about the topics of death or self-harm
  • Using phrases that make death the only option to escape, such as “I wanna kill myself.”
  • Making plans or looking for ways to die or self-murder
  • Saying goodbye to the people they love
  • Excessive use of drugs or alcohol
  • Frequent smoking
  • Giving away valuable things or making a will
  • Avoid once-enjoyable activities
  • Change in sleeping and eating pattern
  • Taking risks or engaging in harmful behaviors that may signal risk, such as driving extremely fast
  • Withdrawing from social media
  • Preferring isolation

Physical Manifestations

  • Chronic illness
  • Cognitive symptoms
  • Depression or bipolar disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Schizophrenia
  • Loss of interest
  • Irritability
  • Great guilt/Humiliation/Shame
  • Agitation/Anger
  • Scars or other visible signs from previous attempts of self-harm

Psychosocial Manifestations

  • Feeling hopeless and isolation
  • Often sad, fearful, more anxious feelings
  • Feeling never-ending emotional pain
  • Self-loathing or feeling that life is worthless
  • Self-blaming
  • Paranoia
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Sudden changes in attitude or behavior
  • Dramatic change in personality

Any demonstrable change in behavior, feeling, mood, or talk, could be a sign of various problems, including passive or active suicidal ideation. Anyone who has such symptoms or signs may be in danger. They should be encouraged to talk with a doctor, mental health therapist, or expert psychologist.

If I Know Someone Has Passive Or Active Suicidal Thoughts, How Can I Help?

There is always a hope, solution, and help.

If you suspect you have active suicidal thoughts, get therapy as soon as possible. Practice meditation, take an interest in positive things, and try to learn new things that will help divert your mind.

To cope with active suicidal ideation, stay motivated about your life and try to love yourself. Think of yourself as important, if not for someone else but for yourself. Although if you are at high risk, seek a doctor immediately. Don’t hesitate to consult with expert therapists, counselors, or Psychiatrists.

When a family member or someone you know is thinking about suicide communicate them openly. Express your concern and directly ask them if they are feeling anxious or fearful. Providing emotional support and encouragement is the best strategy in managing such life-threatening thoughts.

Encourage them to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Healthy lifestyle activities include maintaining a balanced diet, getting plenty of sleep, engaging in outdoor activities, and staying physically active. Motivate them to recognize their own worth and live for themselves.

Let them know that you are with them and value their presence, particularly if they express thoughts of self-harm. Remind them that life is beautiful, and if they choose to love life it will love them back. In severe cases ensure they are not left alone. Remove any lethal items they could use to harm themselves.

These are basic approaches to handling passive or active suicidal ideation. When there is a high risk, strongly encourage them to seek professional counseling and therapy. Additionally, don’t forget to contact the nearest suicidal prevention hotline to save a life.

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