“The broken heart. You think you will die, but you keep living, day after day after terrible day.” - Charles Dickens
According to Center For Disease Control statistics, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States with an estimated 44,193 Americans killing themselves each year. But that may well be the tip of the iceberg considering that only one in 25 suicide attempts will actually be fatal. As well, there may be no way to tell how many deaths believed to be due to natural causes or accidents are actually suicides. Still, while health statistics confirm that more people than ever are attempting suicide, advances in emergency medicine and new research into the psychological roots of suicide may succeed in reversing this trend.
While researchers have identified different risk factors for suicide, relationship or marital problems seem to stand out in particular. Not only are people dealing with relationship abuse or emotional conflict at particular risk for suicide attempts, but studies also show that terminating a relationship can boost suicide risk as well. In the same way that being in a committed relationship helps protect against stress or depression, this same sense of commitment may become dangerous once that relationship dissolves. Since any romantic relationship requires a significant investment of time, emotional bonding, shared friendship, and property, the sudden end of any relationship can have serious consequences.
To read more, check out my new Psychology Today blog post.