Suicidal Thoughts: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention

Suicidal thoughts can be frightening and confusing. Whether you’ve been struggling with suicidal thoughts for years or only recently, learning about the causes and treatments of suicidal ideation can help you heal.

Know that help is always available. A crisis hotline is just a dial away, and many healthcare providers in the United States can assist you.

In this blog post, we will explore the symptoms, causes, and available treatment options for suicidal thoughts and ideation. With knowledge and support, we can all manage our emotions and create a life worth living.

Symptoms: Am I Displaying Suicidal Behavior?

What is a suicidal thought to begin with? It’s when a person fantasizes about taking one’s own life. This behavior is also known as “suicidal ideation.”

Passive suicidal ideation occurs when you wish to die but do not have fixed plans for a suicide attempt. Meanwhile, active ideation is where you feel extremely suicidal—not only fantasizing about suicide but actively planning to do it.

Red flags for suicide risks include the following behaviors:

  • Withdrawing socially from friends and family
  • Expressing guilt or shame
  • Talking about death or suicide attempts
  • Acting recklessly
  • Increasing drug or alcohol use

Causes: Why Do I Feel Suicidal?

Suicidal feelings don’t come from a single source. Different mental health conditions can trigger a suicidal thought. Mental disorders like the following can cause these thoughts.

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Other psychiatric disorders

Social issues leading to extreme emotional pain can also spark these thoughts.

  • Loneliness or isolation
  • Bullying or stigma relating to race, gender, disability, or sexual identity
  • Different types of abuse, including domestic violence

Even physical health issues, including chronic pain, may cause hopelessness. But, again, seemingly random things can also present risk factors for suicidal ideation. Consider the following:

  • Life stressors like financial problems
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Job loss and unemployment
  • The passing of loved ones
  • Physical health issues
  • Substance abuse
  • Trauma

Suicidal thoughts are not uncommon. If you are feeling suicidal, reach out for help from friends, family members, mental health professionals, or support groups.

Can medication cause suicidal feelings?

Medication can trigger suicidal ideation. Some commonly prescribed drugs may induce suicidal thoughts as a side effect.

For instance, there is a concern for a type of anti-depressive drug (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs) raising the risk of suicidal thoughts in children and adolescents.

If you believe you are taking a drug that is causing suicidal thoughts, get professional help immediately. Discuss this with a crisis counselor or your mental health provider right away.

Treatments: How I Can Treat My Suicidal Behavior?

As we said, help is always available to treat suicidal ideation. Let’s explore these treatment options.


A popular way to treat suicidal ideation is through psychotherapy. This type of talk therapy usually helps to understand and manage thoughts, feelings, and experiences that may be causing suicidal ideation.

Patients meet face-to-face (or in group therapy) with a mental health professional to gain better insight into their problems and find solutions.

There are two popular types of psychotherapy: cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). Regardless of the type, psychotherapy is beneficial in treating various mental health issues, like major depression and mood disorders.

Through psychotherapy, patients can learn to manage difficult emotions effectively, set achievable goals for themselves, build healthier relationships, and create a stronger sense of self-esteem.


Medication can be effective in treating mental health issues, including suicidal thoughts. Doctors may prescribe different medications depending on a patient’s circumstances.

Common medications used in suicide treatment are as follows:

  • Antidepressants (including SSRIs and MAOIs)
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Antipsychotics
  • Mood-stabilizing drugs

Contact your health care provider before taking them to avoid substance misuse.

Prevention: How to Manage My Emotions

Besides psychotherapy and medication, engage in activities that can prevent the risks of suicidal ideation.

The first proactive and preventive approach is practicing self-care. A healthy diet, sufficient sleep, regular exercises, and routine breaks from work or school are just the start. Relaxing with yoga, meditation, or calming music may also help.

The next approach is to set up safety planning—a short-term, actionable plan to identify your triggers. Coping strategies in this planning include participating in positive activities when depressed or overwhelmed and having trusted contacts for support.

That support system is also vital for a person’s mental well-being. Having someone who listens without judgment and provides comfort during tough times is good. Building strong relationships with people helps you stay connected, reducing the risk of suicidal thoughts.

Get Help with NeuroSpa

If any warning signs of suicidal thoughts are present, contact a suicide and crisis lifeline, reach out to a professional, or call 911 immediately.

If you or a loved one are suffering from depression and are experiencing warning signs of suicidal ideation, NeuroSpa is here to help.

From treatments like TMS therapy and Ketamine therapy, to talk therapy and medication management, our team of professionals have the tools to provide customized individual care.

With NeuroSpa, you’ll never have to fight mental illness alone. Book a free consultation today and receive the mental health care that you deserve.

This blog post is meant to be educational in nature and does not replace the advice of a medical professional. See full disclaimer.


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