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How to Handle the Male Ego
Dr Savita Date Menon
 
 
Watch out for the signs and you can do your part in preventing suicides. Early detection is the key.

Suicide is not a random or pointless act. It is intentional and self inflicted death, as a permanent solution to a temporary problem. It is a narrowing of perceived options, a need for escape.

Now, no discussion on Ego can happen without talking about Freud. It was he who gave it name and definition. His theory of personality structure identified three principle parts that were interlocked with each other for mutual satisfaction. The id was the storehouse of all biologically based urges: to eat, drink, eliminate and to be sexually stimulated. This sexual energy is called the libido. The id operated on the pleasure principle or the desire to satisfy itself, regardless of rules and morals.

12 SIGNS TO WATCH OUT FOR
  1. A persistently depressed mood or mood swings.
  2. Change or decline in performance.
  3. Withdrawal.
  4. Disturbed sleep and appetite.
  5. No stable attachments. Poor communication with near and dear.
  6. Reckless, impulsive, self destructive behaviour.
  7. Inquiries about drugs, poisons, weapons.
  8. Previous attempts at suicide.
  9. Family history of suicide.
  10. Difficulty in relationships.
  11. Frequent talks or threats of suicide. Some attempts are only to threaten or scare but may succeed by accident.
  12. Sudden increase in consumption of alcohol, pills.

While suicide is an individual act committed usually in solitude, the majority of them can still be prevented. Helplines play a big role by empathizing with the suicidal caller yet postponing the sense of immediacy so that the caller can atleast live to seek professional help. The more helplines, the more awareness about their existence, the larger will be the numbers supported.

The majority of suicides in India - 71 percent - are below the age of 44 years and 37.8 percent below 30 years. This massive socio-emotional burden on our society is perhaps the price we are paying for our leap into globalization. Fast paced social change, and a people turning from a sab chalta hai (anything goes) personality to an aggressive and ambitious one, are aggravating factors for sure.

While heart disease, cancer, cerebrovascular disease, accidents, pneumonia, diabetes and cirrhosis top the list of causes of death, suicide comes a close 8th. While the official rate in India is 10.3 per 1,00,000 people, two large studies in rural Tamil Nadu suggest that the rate may in fact be six to nine times higher!

10th September is World Suicide Prevention Day. At an individual level, each of us can become a watchdog. Pay attention to persistent negative, unhappy thoughts in your friends or family members. Show a little care in their times of sadness. When a family member reports feelings of worthlessness often, don't get irritated. Take her to a psychologist. Don't dismiss suicidal ideas and fears as trivial and silly. Even more importantly, don't assume that the first attempt will be the last. 
 
Dr Savita Date Menon is a clinical psychologist, popular speaker, columnist and guest faculty at Harvard Medical School, USA

    
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