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Sleep disorders and suicide: A mental health expert reveals the worrying connection

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This story is about suicide. If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

We’ve all experienced the irritability that comes with not being able to sleep – but over a long period of time poor sleep health could lead to far more serious consequences.

Some experts warn that people with chronic sleep disorders are more likely to have suicidal thoughts.

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Fox News Digital spoke with Taft Parsons III, MD, vice president and chief of psychiatry at CVS Health in Birmingham, Michigan, about this troubling link.

“No single cause”

Research shows that 42% of Americans have expressed concerns about their mental health, according to Parsons, and 18% say they have been plagued by suicidal thoughts at some point in the past year.

Suicide is a very complex phenomenon with multiple overlapping risk factors, he noted.

Man awake

Some experts warn that people with chronic sleep disorders are more likely to have suicidal thoughts. (iStock)

“There is no single cause of suicide – it is a convergence of.” Health factorsalong with other psychosocial and environmental variables that can increase the likelihood that someone will take their own life,” he told Fox News Digital.

These can include social and environmental factors such as ongoing stress, as well as legal and financial problems, he noted.

According to CDC data, suicide rates in the United States are at an all-time high

Past trauma and mental health problems – such as depression, Substance use disorder and sleep – can also be factors.

“Some of these factors may be more difficult to treat than others, but seeking help for sleep problems or disorders can be a step toward eliminating a potential risk factor,” Parsons said.

Why do sleep problems increase the risk?

Inadequate sleep can negatively impact critical functions such as decision-making, impulse control, problem-solving skills, emotion regulation and resilience, Parsons noted.

“When a person struggles with sleep deprivation, it can lead to a variety of adverse health consequences, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes,” he said.

Man awake at night

Inadequate sleep can negatively impact critical functions such as decision-making, impulse control, problem-solving skills, emotion regulation and resilience, an expert said. (iStock)

“It can also lead to increased Depression and anxietyboth can play a significant role in suicide.”

Well-rested people are better equipped to effectively deal with life’s challenges Cope with stress and maintain a positive attitude, he said.

“Improved sleep can also reduce impulsivity and emotional dysregulation, both of which can be linked to suicidality,” he said.

Signs of sleep-related suicidal tendencies

People with suicidal thoughts often exhibit sudden changes in behavior, Parsons said.

This may include new sleep problems such as insomnia or sleeping too much.

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“Similarly, we view withdrawing from friends and family, acting recklessly, or increasing substance use as warning signs,” he told Fox News Digital.

“So the key factor is to focus on the sudden or uncharacteristic change in sleep, not necessarily the number of nights.”

Elderly woman with insomnia

People with suicidal thoughts often exhibit sudden changes in behavior, an expert said. This may include new sleep problems such as insomnia or sleeping too much. (iStock)

According to Parsons, recognizing common signs of sleep deprivation is crucial to preventing it from affecting a person’s mental health.

When people are sleep-deprived, they often have problems with concentration, memory, decision-making, problem-solving, and regulation of emotions and behavior, he pointed out.

“Focusing on the sudden or uncharacteristic change in sleep is the key factor.”

“Individuals who are not well-rested and may also have difficulty regulating their emotions are at increased risk of making poor decisions and have a negative ability to effectively deal with overwhelming stress,” Parsons warned.

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“If these problems occur suddenly, escalate or recur, they may indicate more serious or underlying problems and indicate a problem Mental health Output.”

Experts recommend adults sleep between seven and nine hours per night.

Triple split sleep

“Individuals who are not well-rested and may also have difficulty regulating their emotions are at increased risk of making poor decisions and have a negative ability to effectively deal with overwhelming stress.” (iStock)

Children and teenagers generally need more sleep than adults.

When to seek support

For people struggling with sleep problems, experts recommend seeking treatment if they are unable to manage the problem on their own.

“Many people unintentionally develop habits that are detrimental to good sleep, and should begin a sleep hygiene program for several weeks,” suggested Parsons.

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“If you notice someone exhibiting warning signs of suicide, including sudden sleep problems, or other signs such as mood swings or verbal cues, it is important to reach out, have an honest conversation, express concerns and help provide the person with support connect.” he said.

“There are resources available to help prioritize wellness, no matter where someone is on the mental health spectrum.”

Even if suicide turns out not to be a problem, the person may still feel comforted, supported and relieved if someone takes the time to connect and listen, Parsons noted.

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It is not necessary for people to wait until they are in crisis to seek support, he stressed.

“There are resources available to help prioritize wellness, no matter where on the mental health spectrum someone is,” he said.

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“The sooner someone connects with support and resources, the sooner they can feel better and increase their overall resilience.”

If someone is showing signs of suicidal thoughts, it is important that the person gets help immediately by calling or texting 988 to reach the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

For more health articles, see www.foxnews/health.

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