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Free Essay Sample «Crisis of Lethality»

«Crisis of Lethality»


Individuals often experience a crisis in response to societal and personal events. Suicide should be understood as the result of sufferings and psychological pain of a person who does not see any other choice in life. Severe depression, psychoses, and melancholia generate disorders of brain physiology. Suicide is based on psychological pain as the result of frustrated psychological needs. It is a response to desperate solutions of a suffering of an individual who cannot find any other alternatives. A crisis of lethality refers to the risks of dangerous behaviors, including suicide. In order to help understand and prevent suicide, it is important to find out motivations that encourage people to destroy their lives.

The Dynamic of Suicide

Suicidal behaviors develop from the thoughts about committing suicide. According to Shneidman (2001), suicide may become the only solution to individuals who experience severe psychological pain as the result of their psychological frustrations (p. 203). Psychological pain encompasses a wide range of factors that explain dangerous behaviors. The escape theories view suicide as the result of intense feelings of regret, sadness, anger, guilt, and so on. James and Gilliland (2012) assume that these theories lack an explanation of suicidal behavior. The interpersonal-psychological theory of suicide appears to be more stimulating for further research because it is based on the specific hypothesis that is easy to test. Many psychologists consider that such abstract construct as psycheache is hard to define empirically (Shneidman, 2001).

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Regardless of the strengths and weaknesses of the escape theories, clear clinical implications could be drawn from them. According to Shneidman (1999), suicide is considered to be a conscious act of self-induced annihilation that can be the best solution for a suicidal person (p. 155). The suicide caused by psychological pain that has developed due to the frustration of the psychological needs can be prevented by psychotherapies focusing on those needs. Shneidman has outlined anodyne psychotherapy to treat suicidal patients (Hendricks & McKean, 2006). Furthermore, Cognitive behavioral therapy is also an effective tool in helping clients to direct them to concentrate their attention on more realistic goals. In most cases, psychotherapy based on the escape theories is directed to determine what the person wishes to escape from.

Suicide and the Moral Dilemma

Euthanasia and assisted suicide can create a moral dilemma and debates between varieties of the population. These categories refer to the terminally ill patients who cannot be treated medically and who are allowed to die naturally rather than be kept on life support. In some cases, patients receive additional treatment that only prolongs their lives but does not improve their health condition or quality of life. Simon & Hales (2012) assert that the main reason for this type of suicide is to release a client from pain using drugs or treatment. Euthanasia is a chance for terminally ill patients and their families to make a decision whether to die or continue living without any hope for recovery. When such a patient rejects a new treatment or asks to stop an ongoing treatment, this request should be respected.

Since the patient is the only one who suffers, it is his or her right to demand the end of this suffering, and it is society’s mission to comply with this request. James and Gilliland (2012) explain that the rationale of this demand is determined by the relief of patients’ relatives. When it is obvious that the terminally ill patient is of sound mind and sincere desire to die, clinicians should fulfill this desire. To sum up this situation, it is worth mentioning that the decision about allowing someone to die should remain the patient’s absolute and exclusive right.

Characteristics of People who Commit Suicide

Shneidman (1999) characterizes individuals who commit suicide, grouping their characteristics under six aspects such as cognitive, situational, motivational, relational, affective, and serial. Some people experience severe psychological pain and try to find out the way out to escape from it. These situational characteristics reflect frustrated individuals’ needs that affect their behavior. As a rule, suicidal individuals experience mental problems, terminal diseases, drug abuse, frustration, anger, and so on. Simon & Hales (2012) report that suicidal behaviors increase with age when elder people are more prone to developing dangerous diseases, feeling of loneliness, isolation and other reasons that were less likely to develop at their younger age. They often plan to commit suicide long beforehand without sharing their thoughts with others. Furthermore, individuals who hear inner voices, which means they have psychological disorders, can kill themselves. Among these patients are schizophrenics who need psychological therapies.

Some people commit suicide based on the reasoned decision. For example, individuals with terminal illnesses may be motivated by their desire to stop pain by ending their lives. Most of them are sure that there is no sense to continue life full of pain and they make a decision to die. These people do not have psychological problems such as depression or others. People who want to escape from problems are often engrossed in suicidal thoughts about the methods of doing that. James and Gilliland (2012) believe that people who commit suicide have often experienced the death of a close person before the age of 12. A family history of alcoholism, depression, or mental illness is characteristic of those who commit suicide.

Similarities between Suicide and Homicide

Often, a suicidal person is also homicidal. The research asserts that about 30 percent of violent individuals have a history of self-destructive behavior (Hendricks & McKean, 2006). Moreover, those who commit murders kill themselves after that, and most of them experience aggression and violent behaviors. However, there is no doubt that not all suicidal persons are homicidal. The main similarity between homicide and suicide is that both are violent actions that take people’s lives.

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The differences of these destructive actions are in the motivations. Thus, suicidal persons do not make harm to others, they take their own lives and not others’, while homicidal individuals take lives of others.


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