THE AKATHISIA ALLIANCE FOR SUICIDE PREVENTION

Are you or a loved one experiencing a crisis? If so, please leave this page and dial 988 now.

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline has trained counselors and is confidential, free, and available 24/7.

To learn more about 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, visit their website: 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

SUICIDE FACTS AND STATISTICS

Every 40 seconds someone commits suicide (CDC, 2024). Between the years 2000 – 2021, suicide rates increased to thirty-six percent (CDC, 2024). During these time periods, suicide was responsible for 48,183 deaths (CDC, 2024). The alarming number of individuals who contemplate suicide is even higher. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2024) statistics, “it is estimated that 12.3 million American adults have seriously thought about suicide, 3.5 million planned a suicide attempt, and 1.7 million attempted suicides” [para.3].

In 1981, suicide was the 5th leading cause of death in the 1-44 age group (CDCP, 2024).

Suicide is now the 2nd second leading cause of death for this age group, and numbers of suicides continue to rise (CDCP, 2024).

RISK AND PROTECTIVE FACTORS

“Risk Factors are conditions and characteristics that increase the chance that a person may try to take their life” (AFSP, 2024).

HEALTH

  • Akathisia

“Suicidality in akathisia is distinctly different from the suicidality of depression. When people get this side effect, they will tell you they want to kill themselves to escape this severe inner agitation. They feel like jumping out of their skin, they feel like jumping off a building, they feel like jumping off a room, or hanging themselves. When people are depressed, they’re hopeless, helpless, worthless, and that’s what they’ll tell you they want to escape. It looks totally different.” ~ J. Glenmullen, M.D. (“Akathisia Alliance, 2020) https://youtu.be/_6eix3cdwoU

  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Serious physical health conditions [pain]
  • Mental Health conditions such as depression, substance abuse issues, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, conduct disorders, anxiety disorders
  • Toxic Black Mold (Dr. Ackerley, 2018)
  • Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (Health News, 2024).
  • Medication side effects (Dr. Tello, 2018).

ENVIRONMENTAL

  • Contagious suicides (Gould, 1990)
  • Access to lethal means such as drugs and firearms
  • Prolonged stress such as bullying, unemployment, harassment, relationship problems, family issues

HISTORICAL

  • Previous suicide attempts
  • Family history of suicide
  • Childhood neglect, trauma and abuse

PROTECTIVE FACTORS

“Protective factors are personal or environmental characteristics that help protect individuals from suicide” (SPRC, 2024).

  • Access to a knowledgeable crisis line/community awareness of Akathisia
  • A strong support system from family and friends
  • Medical professionals understanding of Akathisia
  • A nonpsychiatric center that can provide safety while withdrawing from medications
  • Effective behavioral health care (SPRC, 2020)
  • Connectedness to community, social institutions, family and individuals (SPRC, 2020)
  • Life skills (stress management, conflict resolution, coping skills, adapting to change) (SPRC, 2020)

PRECIPITATING FACTORS AND WARNING SIGNS

“Precipitating factors are stressful events that can trigger a suicidal crisis in a vulnerable person” (SPRC, 2020).

  • Telling the Akathisia sufferer that they are crazy, or they are delusional
  • Prescribing more meds to treat the symptoms
  • End of relationship or marriage (SPRC, 2020)
  • Death of a loved one (SPRC, 2020)
  • An arrest (SPRC, 2020)
  • Serious financial problems (SPRC, 2020)

WARNING SIGNS

“Individuals who are considering suicide may show signs that they are thinking about or planning to attempt suicide” (SPRC, 2020).

Changes in behavior or mood:

  • Pacing frantically 
  • Out of control feeling
  • Becoming violent/rageful/recklessness
  • Changes in eating/sleeping patterns
  • Saying goodbye to family and friends
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Losing interest in personal appearance
  • Not answering phone calls/or texts
  • Increased alcohol or drug usage
  • Recent suicide attempt

Talking about:

  • Feeling as though they are a burden to others
  • Feeling guilt, shame, or anger
  • Feeling trapped, worthless, or hopelessness
  • Death or a recent fascination with death
  • Feeling unbearable pain
  • Feeling like they cannot “take this anymore”
  • Feeling as though they have no reason to live anymore

WHAT TO DO IF YOU OR SOMEONE IN YOUR LIFE IS EXPERIENCING SUICIDAL SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

                                      DO NOT WAIT : Get Help Now

REFERENCES

AFSP. (2024). Risk factors and Protective Factors. Retrieved from: www.afsp.org/risk-factors-protective-factors-and-warning-signs/ on March 28th, 2024.

Ackerley, M., MD (2018). Letter to Australian Parliament. Retrieved from: https://iseai.org/a-letter-from-dr-ackerley-to-the-australian-parliament/ on March 28th, 2024.

CDC. (2024). Facts about Suicide. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/suicide/facts/index.html on March 27th, 2024.

CDCP. (2024). Injuries and Violence Are Leading Causes of Death. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/animated-leading-causes.html on March 27th, 2024.

Gould MS. Suicide clusters and media exposure. In. In: Blumenthal S, Kupfer D, editors. Suicide over the life cycle: Risk factors, assessment, and treatment of suicidal patients. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association; 1990. pp. 517–532.

Health News. (2024). Woman with chemical sensitivities chose medically-assisted death after failed bid to get better housing. Retrieved from: https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/woman-with-chemical-sensitivities-chose-medically-assisted-death-after-failed-bid-to-get-better-housing-1.5860579 on March 27th, 2024.

SPRC. (2024). Protective Factors. Retrieved from: www.sprc.org/risk-and-protective-factors/ on March 27th, 2024.

Tello, M., MD, MPH. (2018). Depression: Common medication side effect? Retrieved from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/depression-common-medication-side-effect-2018071614259 on March 28th, 2024.