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Suicidal Thoughts

Suicidal Thoughts Overview

If you or someone you know is considering suicide and are unsure how to deal with it, call a suicide hotline, like 1-800-SUICIDE, to get help.

Suicidal thoughts are troubling, especially when accompanied by depression, other mental illnesses, alcohol or substance abuse, or plans for suicide. This situation demands immediate evaluation. These thoughts may indicate the presence of a serious psychological disorder.

The critical distinction is between a person's thoughts regarding death and suicide and actually feeling suicidal. When doctors hear that someone wants to die, they refer to these thoughts as suicidal ideation and divide them into two categories.

  • Suicidal ideation can be active and involve a current desire and plan to die.
  • Suicidal ideation can be passive, involving a desire to die but without a plan to bring about one's death.

If a person has an actual desire to die (in either form of suicidal ideation), he or she must seek immediate medical attention.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/11/2014

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