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~ Warning Signs & Symptoms ~

Suicide Warning Signs

  • Talk of death, suicide, or harming oneself
  • Chronic panic or anxiety
  • Constant insomnia
  • Altered personality or appearance
  • Changes in sleeping or eating habits
  • Dropping grades (for those still in school)
  • Giving away treasured possessions
  • Becoming more isolated - pulling away from normal social activities
  • Talk of depression, life is not worth living
Signs & Symptoms of Depression
Do you, or anyone you know have any of the following signs?
  • Loss of interest in formerly pleasurable activities
  • Dissatisfaction with life
  • Withdrawal from social activities
  • Loss of energy
  • Feeling useless or hopeless
  • Irritability
  • Great concern with health problems
  • Sadness or crying
  • Worry and/or self-criticism
  • Difficulty concentrating and/or making decisions
  • Loss of appetite and weight
Warning Signals of Unresolved Grief/Complicated Mourning
Anyone exhibiting these warning signals should be evaluated by their Primary Care Physician or a Mental Health Practitioner ASAP.
  • Severe depression
  • Hypochondriasis
  • Psycho-physiologic reactions
  • Alcoholism
  • Drug Dependency
  • Psychotic States
  • Inhibited or Absent Grieving
Symptoms and Behavior of Unresolved Grief/Complicated Mourning
Anyone exhibiting these symptoms and behaviors should be evaluated by their Primary Care Physician or a Mental Health Practitioner.
  • A depressive syndrome of varying degrees of severity
  • A history of delayed or prolonged grief
  • Symptoms of guilt, self-reproach, panic attacks, and somatic expressions of fear such as choking sensations and hyperventilation
  • Somatic symptoms representing identification with the deceased, those of the terminal illness
  • Physical distress under the upper half of the sternum accompanied by expressions such as
  • "There is something stuck" or "I feel there is a demon inside me."
  • Searching behavior - trying to locate the deceased symbolically or actually
  • Recurrence of depressive symptoms and searching behavior on holidays or anniversaries
  • A feeling that the death occurred yesterday, even though the loss took place months or years ago
  • Unwillingness to move the material possessions of the deceased
  • Change in relationships e.g. replacement of deceased with someone else
  • Diminished participation in religious and ritualistic activities
  • The inability to discuss the deceased without crying or the voice cracking, particularly when the death occurred over a year ago
  • Recounting themes of loss
Warning Signs and Symptoms of Trauma Related Stress
People who have experienced a traumatic event oftentimes suffer psychological stress related to the incident. In most instances, these are normal reactions to abnormal situations. Those who are unable to regain control of their lives, or who experience the following symptoms for more than a month, should be evaluated by the Primary Care Physician or a Mental Health Practitioner. The symptoms to watch out for:
  • Recurring thoughts or nightmares about the event.
  • Re-experiencing the event through vivid memories or flash backs.
  • Having trouble sleeping or changes in appetite.
  • Experiencing anxiety and fear, especially when exposed to events or situations reminiscent of the trauma.
  • Being on edge, being easily startled or becoming overly alert.
  • Feeling guilty about surviving the event or being unable to solve the problem, change the event or prevent the disaster.
  • Feeling depressed, sad and having low energy.
  • Experiencing memory problems including difficulty in remembering aspects of the trauma.
  • Feeling "scattered" and unable to focus on work or daily activities.
  • Feeling overwhelmed by what would normally be considered everyday situations and diminished interest in performing normal tasks or pursuing usual interests.
  • Having difficulty making decisions.
  • Feeling irritable, easily agitated, suspicious, or angry and resentful.
  • Feeling fearful and a sense of doom about the future
  • Feeling emotionally "numb."
  • Withdrawing, disconnecting. Avoiding social situations
  • Feeling different from others.
  • Spontaneously crying, feeling a sense of despair and hopelessness.
  • Feeling extremely protective of, or fearful for, the safety of loved ones.
  • Not being able to face certain aspects of the trauma, and avoiding activities, places, or even people that remind you of the event.
  • Relying increasingly on alcohol or drugs to get through the day.

Listen for the "cry for help." You might be the only one that hears it.

Kirsti A. Dyer, MD, MS

See the Emergency 911 Page for links to immediate resources
if you are feeling helpless, hopeless, overwhelmingly depressed, or suicidal.

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Last update Sept. 11, 2002