Are depression and PTSD the strongest reasons for suicide?

Major debate exists about the reason behind the increased risk of suicide in trauma survivors. 

Are depression and PTSD the strongest reasons for suicide?

Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: In October last year, doctors and researchers declared that India is fast on its way to becoming the suicide capital of the world with more than 90% deaths caused due to various forms of depression and its accompanying problems.

This brings us to two of the most common causes that lead to suicide, which are depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Before we move on, it is important to know what depression and PTSD are. Laymen often confuse the two conditions as being the same or similar, but they aren’t.


Wikipedia defines depression as a mental disorder characterized by at least two weeks of low mood that is present across most situations. It is often accompanied by low self-esteem, loss of interest in normally enjoyable activities, low energy, and pain without a clear cause. People may also occasionally have false beliefs or see or hear things that others cannot. Some people have periods of depression separated by years in which they are normal while others nearly always have symptoms present.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):

As per Wikipedia, PTSD is a mental disorder that can develop after a person is exposed to a traumatic event, such as sexual assault, warfare, traffic collisions, or other threats on a person's life. Symptoms may include disturbing thoughts, feelings, or dreams related to the events, mental or physical distress to trauma-related cues, attempts to avoid trauma-related cues, alterations in how a person thinks and feels, and increased arousal.

In a nutshell, depression is a major part or effect of PTSD. The trauma that caused the onset of PTSD also may cause depression.

On the other hand, if you are suffering with either of the problems, it is quite possible that you may also have the other.

Coming back to the connection of both these conditions with suicide, chances of a person suffering from depression or PTSD may have suicidal tendencies.

As per, suicidal people meet the formal criteria for PTSD and depression. Severe and prolonged suicidal pain is not something that most people suffer. People in suicidal crises feel that they are at the breaking point of what they can cope with.

Medical Health Daily says that, major depression is a leading cause of suicide throughout the world. People that do not treat their depressive symptoms have a greater risk for following through with suicide. Individuals with major depression are typically genetically wired in a way that makes it difficult to feel pleasure and happiness in life. 90% of people who commit suicide suffer from untreated depression.

However, it also lists PTSD as a common cause of suicide. It says that, people with PTSD often live in a state of intense and sometimes debilitating anxiety and/or fear that can interfere with leading a normal life. When people feel helpless about their situation and permanently traumatized, they may turn to suicide.

Major debate exists about the reason behind the increased risk of suicide in trauma survivors. While some studies suggest that suicide risk is higher among those who experienced trauma due to the symptoms of PTSD, others claim that suicide risk is higher in these individuals because of related psychiatric conditions like depression. PTSD, if diagnosed and treated on time, can reduce the risk of depression to a great extent.

This basically concludes that both depression and PTSD are equally responsible for suicide and/or suicidal tendencies in those who suffer from them. They may be different from each other, however, are equally dangerous if not treated on time. 

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