Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
A person is either experiencing thoughts about committing suicide or not. Almost as important are the conditions that may accompany these thoughts, including depression, alcohol or drug abuse, and other mental illness.
Depression: Suicidal thoughts may be present if a person is experiencing the
pain of depression. Depression can be easily assessed in most sufferers.
Others may note that depressed people seem "down,"
upset, or have mood swings.
Depression in children and adolescents tends to appear to be irritability rather than clear sadness, as in adults.
Most depressed people report sleep
disturbances -- either an inability to fall asleep or an inability to sleep
through the night.
People who are depressed often experience hopelessness or helplessness. They may seem unable to experience any feelings of happiness, even when participating in activities they normally enjoy.
Many of these people experience either a rapid weight gain or weight loss along
with their depression.
They may seem inattentive, and their performance at
work or school may suffer.
They may appear listless and even complain of
feeling "down" or depressed.
Depressed people are often burdened with a tremendous sense of guilt. To an outside observer, this guilt often seems unwarranted, but to the depressed person, it
Alcohol or drug addiction: If someone has an ongoing problem with an alcohol or drug addiction, he or she is at increased risk to become actively suicidal.
Drug and alcohol problems generate other
circumstances in a person's life, which may worsen depression or produce mental agitation.
Divorce, loss of job, legal trouble, and financial difficulties often grow from a dependence on alcohol or drugs and can bring about thoughts of suicide.
Mental illness: For someone with a diagnosed mental-health problem such as schizophrenia or someone who has engaged in self mutilation or attempted suicide in the past, thoughts of suicide take on a new dimension of importance.