Hopelessness: A Dangerous Suicide Warning Sign
by Kevin Caruso
The expression of hopelessness in conjunction with a mental disorder such as depression represents a very dangerous warning sign and always needs to be taken very seriously.
So what is hopelessness?
It is a feeling that conditions will never improve, that there is no solution to a problem, and, for many, a feeling that dying by suicide would be better than living.
Most people who feel hopeless have depression, and untreated depression is the number one cause for suicide.
People often express hopelessness in statements that they make, such as the following:
- Things will never get better.
- There are no solutions to my problems.
- I will never be happy again.
- I will never get over what happened.
- I don't see things ever improving.
- There is no point in trying anymore.
- I just want to give up.
- Things are hopeless.
- I feel so hopeless.
- There is no hope for me.
- What do I have to look forward to?
- The future is empty for me.
- I only see things getting worse in the future.
- Everything is going downhill.
- I will never get back to the way I was.
- It's too late for me.
- There is nothing that I can do to make things better.
Numerous studies have shown that feelings of hopelessness in conjunction with a mental disorder can lead to suicide. Two such studies were conducted at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine: one study tracked close to 2000 psychiatric outpatients deemed to be at risk for suicide, and the other tracked about 200 hospitalized psychiatric patients deemed to be at risk for suicide.
After patients were assessed, their levels of hopelessness -- based on a scale known as the "Beck Hopelessness Scale" - were recorded.
The individuals were tracked over the next several years, and, in both studies, significantly more suicides occurred in the group of individuals who exhibited the highest levels of hopelessness.
Thus, anyone expressing feelings of hopelessness who may be suffering from depression or a similar disorder needs to be evaluated as soon as possible.
Effective treatment can eliminate or substantially reduce feelings of hopelessness.
Indeed, depression is highly treatable and the vast majority of people who receive treatment get better.
If you feel hopeless and think that you may be suffering from depression or a similar disorder, you need to reach out for help - and you need to do so now.
Please make an appointment with a medical doctor and a therapist so you may be evaluated.
And remember this: There always is hope. But you may not feel that hope until you
receive effective treatment for any disorder that you might have.
If you or someone you know is suicidal, please go to the Home Page of this website for immediate help.
I love you.