Warning Signs of Suicide in Adults
The following warning signs may be present in adults who have a high risk for suicide:
- Depression or other mental health condition, such as severe anxiety, bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness), or schizophrenia
- Depression followed by sudden cheerfulness and contentment, which may mean the person has made a decision to finalize a suicide plan
- A previous suicide attempt
- Substance use disorder
- Preoccupation with death in conversations
- Giving away personal possessions
Factors that may increase the risk of suicide include having:
- A family member who has died by suicide.
- A family history of depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia.
- A history of physical or sexual abuse.
- Diagnosis of a serious medical illness.
- Failing relationships.
- A divorce.
- A recent life change, such as a death of a spouse or other member of the family, marriage, break-up of a marriage, the birth of a child, a job loss, a job promotion or demotion, or legal problems.
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 suicide, get help right away. To learn more, see Suicidal Thoughts or Threats.
Current as of: February 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Christine R. Maldonado PhD - Behavioral Health