Bipolar Disorder and suicide should not even be considered as co-illnesses, but according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 1 out of 5 of those who have Bipolar Disorder will kill themselves. Considering that over one million people in this country, age eighteen and older, have been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, that is quite a number of people. And the number of people misdiagnosed or yet undiagnosed with Bipolar Disorder is even higher.

People with Bipolar Disorder are about twice as likely to commit suicide than those suffering simply from major depression. Those with bipolar tend to become suicidal during bipolar depressive episodes, and/or rapid cycling Bipolar Disorder. Even those individuals during a hypomanic or even full bipolar manic cycle can fall subject to suicidal ideologies. Those with Bipolar Disorder especially susceptible to suicidal thoughts are those suffering the psychotic symptoms of delusions and hallucinations of a bipolar episode.

Suicide statistics in 2005, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) show that ten percent of all deaths were due to suicide (self-inflicted injury or death). These were not specified to be due to mental illness, but it still statistically backs up the above statistic that ten percent of those with Bipolar Disorder will kill themselves.

Some people with Bipolar Disorder do become suicidal. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), more than ninety percent of people who kill themselves have a diagnosable mental disorder, usually a depressive disorder, such as Bipolar Disorder. This can be predictable when you consider how low the negative thoughts can be when a person is in the depths of a bipolar depressive episode.

Suicidal symptoms to watch for include:

  • The person begins talking about death, feeling suicidal, or wanting to die.
  • The person starts having feelings of hopelessness or helplessness.
  • The person has feelings like nothing will ever change, that things will always be as bad as they seem right now.
  • The person has feelings like nothing they do would make a difference, that no one would even notice if they weren’t here any more.
  • The person feels like they’re just a burden on their family and friends, and no one really cares about them anyway.
  • The person starts putting their affairs in order (for example, they start organizing their finances, paying off debts, giving away possessions, or other things to prepare for their death).
  • The person exhibits risky behavior, as if they don’t care what happens to them—they obviously put themself in harm’s way, or in dangerous situations, with no care of the consequences, or where there is a chance of being killed.
  • The person begins abusing alcohol or drugs.

If you see someone begin to do the above, talk to them, keep them safe, get them to seek help. If they will not talk to you, maybe they will call the Suicide Hot Line, at: 1-800-SUICIDE.