As a follow-up to “We’re being held hostage. At gunpoint.” I would like to pass along a couple of links from the New York Times about “impulsive suicide.” Making the means of suicide more difficult to get to reduces these. There is a common belief that if you eliminate easy access to one means of suicide, people will just find another; it turns out in many cases this isn’t really true. I wish the people who make gun policy understood this.
One not quite on topic observation: that second article reports that the methods which show the most premeditation such as planned overdose or wrist-cutting have the lowest rate of completion. (I refuse to use the word “success” in this context.) I’m not a psychiatrist but I wonder if this is because many pharmaceuticals are less deadly in large doses than one might expect. I know from talking to others, for example, that LD50 (the dosage at which half the subjects die) for Klonopin, one of the most prescribed anti-anxiety drugs, is very high. I was in a group a few years ago with a woman who had taken sixty Neurontin and was exceedingly angry that it had had few effects. My hunch is that the makers of psychiatric medications understand the dangers of patients trying to use them to kill themselves. (Tylenol is another kettle of fish entirely: I don’t know if large doses will kill you quickly, but it will destroy your liver. Britain in the 1990s banned sales of large bottles of the drug.)