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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Suicide: Treatment & Monitoring
      Category : Health Centers > Mental Health (Mental Disorders)


Suicide | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What are the treatments for the condition?

Several factors should be taken into account when designing a treatment plan for a person who has attempted or may commit suicide. These include:

  • the method the person plans to use for committing suicide. It should be determined if the person has access to firearms, medications, or other methods to carry out his or her plan.
  • whether the person has social support
  • whether the person has control over his or her actions and judgment
  • A person should be hospitalized if he or she has:

  • a suicidal plan
  • the means of carrying out the plan
  • poor ability to control his or her actions
  • poor judgment
  • lack of social support
  • In some cases a person who has a plan to commit suicide, but does not have the means, may not need to be hospitalized. If the individual has good mental judgment and good social support, he or she may undergo further evaluation for psychiatric disorders and stressors. The individual must also be willing to sign a contract of "no-harm." This means that he or she will not do harm to him or herself. Medications, such as antidepressants may also be used. Individual therapy as well as family therapy may be recommended.

    A person who expresses thoughts of suicide, but does not have a plan to commit suicide should undergo psychiatric evaluation. The stressors in the person's life should be evaluated as well. Antidepressants may be recommended. Individual, group and/or family therapy may also be used.

    In some cases of suicidal plans and attempts, the therapist may recommend special programs. These may include programs for treatment of alcoholism or drug abuse. The therapist may also recommend electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). This therapy might be used if antidepressants are not effective. It can also be considered or a quicker form of treatment is needed.

    What are the side effects of the treatments?

    Side effects to treatment will depend on the treatment used. Side effects to antidepressants may include stomach upset, difficulty sleeping, headache, and irritability. Side effects to ECT may include temporary memory loss, muscle pain and tenderness, and headaches.

    What happens after treatment for the condition?

    Treatment may continue for some time. It may include antidepressants, therapy, and follow-up appointments.

    How is the condition monitored?

    A person may be asked to renew the "no-harm" contract. He or she may also need to report any new suicidal thoughts or plans. The family may be asked to monitor the person's mood and behavior. They may also be asked to report their perception of the person's suicidal risk. The person should also be given a 24 hour crisis phone number to call in case suicidal thoughts or plans devleop.

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    Suicide: Prevention & Expectations


    Author: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Reviewer: Gail Hendrickson, RN, BS
    Date Reviewed: 07/02/01

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