Monday, December 01, 2008

Suicide Prevention Hotline mention

News Sun 11-28-08
Another sign of stressful times? The National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-TALK), in business less than four years, has answered its one millionth call. Linked to 133 local crisis centers across the nation, it instantly links callers to a counselor closest to their location, 24/7. The hotline is also linked to a special service for veterans and their family members. Hey folks, it ain't that bad. Unless your a Wall Street broker, that is.

A bit flip at the end, but to paraphrase a saying "any time you can get you topic in the paper, it is a good thing". My letter in response:
Thanks for including information about the National Suicide Prevention Hotline in your “Darts& Laurels” November 28, 2008. We need to take advantage of every chance to get out information about suicide and that it is alright to reach out for help if you have thoughts of suicide.

Suicidal thoughts usually have antecedent depressive thoughts, but not always. Taking one’s own life can be an impulsive act on top of that depression, but there is often a time of thought and contemplation. If you can get a handle on that driving toward the “solution” of death, if you can expand your options, realize that there is another way, often death by suicide can be averted. That is what crisis lines are for. They can be quite effective.

Let’s hope that crisis lines can continue to exist in these times of budget cutting. Let’s hope folks realize they can reach out in that way and talk with someone who is willing to listen, help and give a bit of hope. It is often “that bad”. You are seeking deliverance from the pain you feel in your body, in your mind and in your psyche. Seek help. It is OK to get help. You are not “crazy”; seeking help does not mean you are crazy. Sometimes you just need help. National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1.800.273.8255 (TALK))

Richard L Keller, MD


Anonymous said...

Hoping you can help with some toxicology info. My stepson recently committed suicide. His toxicology report lists Delta-9 THC at 23 ng/ML, Delta-9 Carboxy THC at 93 ng/ML, 11-Hydroxy Delta-9 THC none detected. I'm trying to find info to understand what these results mean but am very confused. What does this tell you about when he used the marijuana or how toxic a level was in his system? Trying to understand what role this may have played in what appears to have been a psychotic event which ended in him taking his own life.

Dr. Richard Keller said...

The presence of Delta-9 THC would be consistent with marijuana use (or at least part of the use) within about an hour of death, because it disappears from the body quickly. Neither of his levels are really very high and are nowhere near anything “toxic”.

Dissociative reactions (most often with anxiety and depressive symptoms, although psychosis does occur) are possible with any drug use, and certainly occur without drug exposure, as well. When occurring in the presence of drugs it is not really dose related, but is an idiosyncratic reaction most often overlaying a pre-existing mental health issue (quite possibly depression in your son’s case, although it may not have been recognized before his death). Most likely the marijuana, or some other event, gave him “permission” to escape the psychic pain he was experiencing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for your reply. We believe he was diagnosed as bipolar 2 years ago, but don't know if he at any time was on medication as a result. The toxicology report says "Common Drugs of Abuse Screen". Would they have checked for a medication someone who is bipolar might have been taking or could this type of testing have possibly missed that?

Dr. Richard Keller said...

A "Common Drugs of Abuse Screen" would include such drugs as opiates, marijuana, benzodiazepines, and cocaine; it would not include meds that someone who is bipolar would be taking for their illness.