Suicide and OCD

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The topic that I have decided to focus on is the population of those with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. I have decided to choose this topic, because of the discussion that was talked about related to this topic was brought to my attention. I wanted to dig a little deeper to find more research on suicide rates related to OCD. I believe that it is an issue that is not talked about or seem to be irrelevant. Also, I did not want to my focus on a population that is highly in the media. What I already knew about OCD is that it is linked with another mental illness, which is usually depression. Also, I know that it includes unwanted forbidden or taboos besides fear of germs or contamination. There is not much I do know about OCD, besides having the common knowledge that things are done excessively by an individual.

OCD is one of the ten leading causes of disability in the developed world. More than 6 million Americans are living with OCD that are left being undiagnosed and untreated (Charles, 2013). OCD is not a rare disorder, it affects more people than schizophrenia, panic disorder or bipolar disorder (Charles, 2013).

One of the most interesting facts that I have found was that the lifetime prevalence of OCD is 2% and is characterized by the occurrence of obsessions and/or compulsions, which are time consuming and have a negative impact on the individual's daily activities and in family and social relationships (Nagy and Haitham, 2011). Aggressive obsessions are socially unacceptable, which may be related to excessive thoughts about the fear of causing harm to self or others. Patients with these obsessions often feel both responsible and guilty for having such thoughts, leading to suicidal ideation (Nagy and Haitham, 2011). I understand that those with OCD may feel guilty and responsible, but it may be helpful for individuals to understand that it is not entirely their fault for having this particular disorder. Also, it seems that they are unable to having a normal life when being unable to do outside activities while feeling not as normal.

Once that I have found is that those with OCD are ten times more likely to die by suicide than the general population, I felt that those with OCD really need attention and maybe more attention than those with other disorders. Thinking about suicide appears to be very common for those affected by OCD (Kelly and Gans, 2018). Also, factors that predict if someone with OCD will attempt suicide includes that the symptoms will increase while having depression, feelings of hopelessness, and has self-harmed in the past, such as cutting (Kelly and Gans, 2018). The risk of suicide also goes up if the person with OCD is when using drugs or alcohol, is unemployed, or is socially isolated (Kelly and Gans,2018). It is more common for someone to be more suicidal when having a comorbidity with the condition. When being diagnosed with multiple symptoms, it may be seen to have an even higher chance that there would be more suicidal thoughts and attempts as well as individuals feeling to be in desperate need.

What was interesting to discover was how there is suicidal OCD obsessions and compulsions. There is a fear of committing suicide and constant thoughts of what ways the individual will die by suicide, as well as having the fear of being depressed, which could lead to suicide (Intrusive Thoughts, 2017). Suicidal obsessions are harmful, repetitive, and unwanted thoughts of suicide that result in large amount of suffering (OCD Freedom, 2018). While S-OCD is imagined as having only obsessive symptoms or as a Pure O type, this is inaccurate (OCD Freedom, 2018). The fact that the obsessions are unwanted thoughts does make it harder for the those suffering from OCD, which puts them in greater risk. Suicidal obsessions may appear suddenly or are caused by various activities (OCD Freedom, 2018).The fear of reoccurrence creates an increase of anxiety with attempts to identify set-offs in order to avoid them while realizing that it is not possible (OCD Freedom, 2018). Individuals who suffer from suicidal compulsive disorder are not uncertain, they are against to committing suicide or considering it ( OCD Freedom, 2018). If suicidal plans enter their thoughts, the anxiety is much worst, and if there are detailed plans thought out then there is an increase chance of resisting to suicide (OCD Freedom,2018). I believe that suicidal planning being in thoughts puts on more pressure for those that are suffering. Suicidal thoughts are more likely to be associated with previously reported ideation, self- harm and suicide attempts (OCD Freedom, 2018), The compulsions are excessive reflections of constantly trying to determine if would act on thoughts, desperately trying to find answers to thoughts and often looking up stories about people who have died from suicide and thinking deeply on what happened (Intrusive Thoughts, 2017). Suicidal obsessions include the fear of losing control and not being able to resist killing themselves even if not wanting to do so (OCD Freedom, 2018).Therefore, the specific thoughts usually follows the saying of What if (OCD Freedom, 2018). Due these obsessions and compulsions, those with obsessive compulsive disorder are at great risk to suicide.

As I thought, the risk of suicide has been considered low. It is not looked into as much as it should compared to other disorders that may be linked to suicide. In one study from the Swedish National Patient Register between 1969 and 2013, 36,788 patients participated. 545 had died by suicide and 4,297 had attempted suicide (Science Daily, 2016). Suicide was ten times higher for a risk of death. Attempted suicide was five times higher compared to the general population.(Science Daily,2016). It came to a conclusion that patients with OCD are at high risk of suicide, even in the absence of other psychiatric conditions, which clinicians should be aware of (Science Daily, 2016). It is a must that suicide risk should have watched over for in these patients, especially in those who have previously attempted suicide (Science Daily, 2016). This concludes that those with this condition are not being looked into as much as it should be compared to those with other conditions that may be at risk as well. For this being more of an international study, it tells how much of a huge issue that is not being looked into enough. Also, it brings up the thought of how much US may be affected. The risk of death by suicide in individuals with obsessive compulsive disorder is largely unknown. There is a lot of evidence that shows this disorder causes individuals to be in great risk of suicide, but there is no action being taken. Also, there is a great amount of people with this condition that are being put in great matter of pressure to live with the disorder and feel that they have not choice but to take their lives. They are living in constant pain while feeling they have no access to help and feel that they have no choice but to feel suicidal.

What I have learned in my research is that the link between obsessive-compulsive disorder is a very unknown topic looked into. After the research that I have done, I was more glad to realize this issue was more of an unknown topic, which grabbed more of my interest and attention, instead of being interested in a topic that is already known and may be popular in the media. I believe that it is because it is seen as not a very severe condition to be at risk for suicide compared to others. Though OCD can be just as severe as any other condition. I also learned that those with this specific disorder are at higher risk for suicide when having another disorder along with the OCD, especially when diagnosed with depression and substance abuse.

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Suicide and OCD. (2019, Dec 12). Retrieved March 5, 2024 , from

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