One study found that depressed and suicidal patients have different perceptions of time

Given this ongoing crisis, which we do not know when it will end, one of the consequences could be a sharp increase in suicides. According to Public Health France, 9,000 people kill their lives every year. We also have one of the most suicidal deaths in Europe!

A sad record that makes suicide a public health problem! To reverse this disastrous trend in the world, researchers recently examined the relationship between suicide and the perception of time. This study shows that there is indeed a cause and effect relationship between these two parameters. Explanations.

To solve the mystery of the urge to commit suicide, researchers at Stony Brook University say we need to understand how suicidal thoughts (or thoughts) progress. But also the physical causes that can lead to these destructive thoughts.

To do this, the researchers tried to answer several questions using a group of 280 people. Among these people, some had already attempted suicide, some thought about it, and still others had never imagined it.

Study questions

This study had to answer several questions:

How long does it take for thoughts to trigger a suicide attempt? How long did thoughts of suicide last in the minds of those who have them? How does the perception of time affect things?

How did the test go?

The patient panel consisted of people who had attempted suicide in the past. But also depressed people with suicidal thoughts. And healthy witnesses with no mental illness or drug addiction.

Participants underwent several tests to measure levels of depression, anxiety, or impulsiveness. And also a task of time estimation, which makes it possible to know how quickly the time is passing for the patient.

The first results

Among people who have already attempted suicide, two cases: those who thought about it for less than 5 minutes and others who thought about it for more than 3 hours. According to the researchers, people who thought of suicide over a longer period of time would have shown a slowdown in their perception of time. According to the psychiatrist, author of the study, Dr. Ricardo Caceda, this first investigation shows that the transition to the act often takes place under impulsiveness … During the suicide crisis, time seems to pass more slowly. This would worsen the psychological distress and encourage the transition to action.

Time seems to pass more slowly during the suicide crisis. This would worsen the psychological distress and encourage the transition to action. Photo credit: Shutterstock / Alexandr23

The researchers conclude that the perception of the passage of time could have an impact on the suicide! This would amount to a phenomenon of depersonalization … Similarities have also been observed in patients suffering from post-traumatic stress. As well as soldiers who have experienced terrible war scenes. This differentiated perception of time would be a phenomenon triggered by severe psychological pain.

The study makes it possible to hypothesize and possibly give doctors a reason to understand. When the perception of time is different in a suicide, the factors associated with the passage of time can become a suicide prevention tool!

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