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Can Suicidal Thoughts Go Away Without Treatment?

Suicide remains a sadly prevalent problem in the United States and one of the leading causes of death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of deaths by suicide increased from 2.6% from 2021 to 2022.

One of the many challenges in the effort to end our nation’s suicide epidemic is that it can be very difficult to determine who is at greatest risk. What are the signs that someone has been considering suicide – and can suicidal thoughts go away without treatment?

If you or a loved one are suffering from suicidal ideation, call 911 or visit your nearest emergency room immediately. If you’re looking for mental health treatment, call us now at 770-202-1274.

Types of Suicidal Thoughts

The clinical term for suicidal thoughts is suicidal ideation. Regardless of which term a person uses, it refers to thinking about ending one’s own life. Since this can be an extremely broad category, some experts refer to two types of suicidal thoughts: passive and active

  • Passive suicidal thoughts are general feelings, such as wishing you had never been born or that you could simply disappear. These thoughts may include considerations of ending your own life, but they don’t include any plans that could be acted upon.
  • Active suicidal thoughts include having a strong desire to end your own life and developing a plan about how you intend to accomplish this. 

While efforts to stop suicidal thoughts understandably focus first on people who are at greatest risk, it is important to understand that there’s no such thing as harmless suicidal ideation. Someone who is having passive thoughts may not currently be in imminent danger of ending their life, but they can quickly progress from passive to active ideation.

What Causes Suicidal Thoughts?

It’s not always easy to determine why a person has been considering suicide. In general, the two primary risk factors are mental illnesses and traumatic personal experiences:

  • Depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are examples of mental illnesses that can increase a person’s risk of suicide.
  • Job loss, the end of a relationship, financial difficulties, and being diagnosed with a life-threatening disease are examples of traumatic experiences that may prompt a person to consider suicide. 

You are not alone. You deserve to get help.

Peachtree Wellness is an industry leader in mental health treatment. Our team of top medical experts specialize in dual diagnosis treatment and are committed to ensuring that each patient is treated as an individual. Call us today, we’re available 24/7.

Can Suicidal Thoughts Go Away Without Treatment?

Suicidal thoughts can sometimes go away without formal treatment, however it’s important to recognize that this isn’t always the case. If left untreated, the risk of not seeking help can be high. Several factors can contribute to diminished suicidal thoughts, but these factors should not be relied upon alone:

  • Change in Circumstances: Sometimes, a change in life circumstances can lead to an improvement in mood and a decrease in suicidal thoughts. This could include resolving personal issues, experiencing positive life events, or natural changes in brain chemistry.
  • Social Support: Strong social networks, including supportive friends and family, can provide emotional support and a sense of belonging, which can be crucial in times of crisis.
  • Self-Care Practice: Engaging in self-care practices like regular exercise, good sleep hygiene, and healthy eating habits can positively affect mental health.
  • Resilience and Personal Growth: Some people find inner strength and resilience in difficult times, which can lead to personal growth and a reduction in suicidal thoughts.

Therapy for Suicidal Thoughts

Therapy can be extremely beneficial for people who want to stop suicidal thoughts. Understanding the potential cause or causes of these thoughts can also be quite helpful. For example: 

  • If the individual’s suicidal ideation is symptomatic of a mental illness, medication and therapy to ease the impact of the illness may eliminate these thoughts. 
  • If a person’s suicidal ideation is a response to a specific event or experience, therapy can also help them address their psychological distress in a healthier manner.

Important note: Therapy, medication, and similar interventions can be valuable for people who have been experiencing suicidal thoughts, but who are not likely to act on these thoughts in the near future. But if you believe that you or someone that you care about is in imminent danger of suicide, don’t ignore your concerns until your (or their) next therapy session. Get help immediately. 

One way to summon help is to call 911. Another option is to contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.

If you reside in the United States, you can contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the following ways:

This free service is staffed by trained professionals who can assess your needs and connect you with appropriate resources in your area.

Signs That Someone is Having Suicidal Thoughts

Some people exhibit obvious signs before attempting to end their lives, while others offer little to no indication of what they’ve been thinking about.

Though there are no definitive warning signs that a person is having suicidal thoughts, the following behaviors may suggest that they are at risk:

  • Significant change in mood and mindset, which can include dramatic improvements after a low period. Sometimes, people achieve a sense of peace and serenity once they have decided to attempt suicide.
  • Giving away items of great value or deep personal significance. 
  • Stating that they wish they could disappear to “go to sleep and never wake up.”
  • Stating that their belief that their friends, family, or community would be better off without them.
  • Acting with uncharacteristic aggression or recklessness, such as driving at high speeds or while intoxicated. These could be attempts to “accidentally” end their life.
  • Withdrawing from family and friends.
  • Ending their participation in activities that were previously important to them.

Though we stated this at the start of this section, it bears repeating: There are no signs or symptoms that definitively indicate that someone has been having thoughts of suicide. (There’s also no way to know for certain that someone has not been struggling with suicidal ideation.)

If you think that someone is at risk of ending their life, talk to them. This won’t “put ideas into their head” or increase the likelihood they will attempt suicide. But it may indicate to them that they’re not alone and that someone cares about them. 

Do You Need Treatment if You Have Suicidal Thoughts?

Thus far, we’ve mostly addressed how you can help someone else who has been having suicidal thoughts. But what if you’re the person who has been experiencing them? How can you stop your own suicidal thoughts? Is treatment always necessary?

If you’ve been thinking about suicide, you should consult with a professional. The type and level of care you need will depend on a variety of individual factors. A therapist, counselor, or other qualified professional can help you evaluate those factors and recommend appropriate options.

Having suicidal thoughts doesn’t necessarily mean you need to immediately enter a treatment program. But it is a powerful sign that you’re struggling in some aspect of your life. Completing a mental health assessment can be an important first step toward identifying the root cause of these thoughts, so that you can get the type of care that’s right for you.

Find Help for Suicidal Thoughts in Atlanta

If your life has been disrupted by recurring thoughts of suicide, Peachtree Wellness Solutions is here to help. Our mental health treatment center in Atlanta, Georgia, is a safe and welcoming place where you can receive the personalized care you need to stop suicidal thoughts and address any other concerns that have been undermining your quality of life.

We understand how difficult it can be to struggle with suicidal ideation – and we also realize that many people mistakenly believe there’s no way to escape these thoughts. Here’s the truth: Help is available, and treatment works. When you get the right type and level of care, you can end your suicidal thoughts and find your path toward a healthier and more hopeful future.

To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Admissions page or call us today.