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Suicidal Thoughts


Hi Dr Schwartz,

Recently I have been having very strong suicidal thoughts. They make me shake and sweat and have an upset stomach. The only way I can deal with them is by getting drunk or taking sleeping pills and curling up in a ball until I pass out. I had a tricky childhood, work is bad and I have chronic pain. I can’t pre-empt the feelings. I only realise they are so bad once they are there. Any advice on how I can dispel them better.

Many thanks in advance Nads

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  • Dr. Schwartz responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
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There are a number of facts that stand out from your description. You have some very real reasons for feeling depressed. For example, you state that work is bad, you have chronic pain and you had a difficult childhood. Any one of those could cause feelings of depression. All three of them at once certainly add up to feeling depressed. Depression is often accompanied by suicidal thoughts. The immediate worry is if you have an intention or plan to hurt yourself or end your life. If so, you really need to get immediate help to avert a real tragedy.

What also stands out from your description is that you are attempting to cope with your problems by using alcohol and taking sleeping pills. It wouldn’t surprise me to hear that you are abusing pain medication as well. The fact is that these substances actually increase depression and by a very significant. Your attempt to relieve your depression is actually worsening it. Its also important to remind you that, whatever is wrong at work, its probably being aggravated by alcohol and drugs. You really need to stop as a first step towards feeling better. Feeling better will help you cope better and be rid of suicidal thoughts.

However, its not so simple. Psychotherapy is important as a way of learning how to reduce depression and stress when things in your life get bad. In addition to psychotherapy, you might benefit from anti depressant medication. If you pain is caused by depression then therapy and medication could help a great deal.

If you pain is caused by a physical condition then things like mediation, self hypnosis, deep relaxation and even acupuncture have been found to help some people with chronic pain.

Please go and get help now by finding a good psychotherapist in your part of the world.

Best of Luck

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