What Is a Suicidal Ideation?

There are a plethora of terms used by the psychiatric community when describing the various maladies and conditions presented by their patients. One which often comes up during the intake process for substance abuse treatment is suicidal ideation, the question being whether or not the client has ever had any suicidal ideations. For those of us new to treatment and the psychiatric field, you might lack an understanding of what constitutes a suicidal ideation. Let’s establish a clear definition of a suicidal ideation so you are better able to determine if you’ve ever experienced one.

There are two subcategories of suicidal ideation: passive and active. Passive suicidal ideation is the softer and more abstract of the two types, as the name implies. This is where a person has an idea they would like to cease living, but takes it no farther than a wish for death. They make no specific plans to take their own lives, nor do they take any steps to prepare for their death. An addict with passive suicidal ideation is more likely to suffer a deadly overdose as they will not take any precautions to prevent this outcome. On the contrary, they would welcome an accidental overdose as the fulfillment of their desire to die. This makes passive suicidal ideation a dangerous mental state for an active substance abuser.

Active suicidal ideation occurs when a person takes their desire to die a step further, formulating a plan as to how they will take their own life and intending to follow through with it. This is obviously a more precarious position to find oneself in, as at any moment you could make the decision to execute your plan and end your life. Those addicts who experience active suicidal ideation often look to their substance of choice as a means to take their life, given the lack of suffering associated with this option and the ease of access to the tools required. If you or someone you know has expressed both a desire to end their lives and a specific means to do so, you should take action and get them professional assistance in order to remove the ideation from their daily thoughts and restore a healthier frame of mind.

Suicidal ideation is a serious warning flag for a person’s state of mind. Most substance abuse treatment centers incorporate questions meant to determine if a patient has experienced suicidal ideations into their intake process so that these dangerous thought processes can be appropriately addressed in the course of treatment. This is why it is so important for you as an incoming client to fully disclose any suicidal ideations you have experienced in your past, as leaving these markers for depression unexpressed would do a great disservice to your recovery efforts. At Evolutions, our compassionate staff are understanding of these thoughts and the reasons behind them, and will receive your disclosure without judgement or overreaction. If you or a loved one are actively abusing substances and experiencing thoughts of suicide, do not delay in calling our Admissions Counselors at 833-818-3031 so we can help restore a healthier mindset through sobriety.