As our society grows and changes many social problems arise from our-selves and the others around us. A social problem is a situation affecting a significant amount of people, which are believed to be sources of difficulty or threaten the stability of the community. Almost everyone is affected by a social problem at some point in his or her life. In American society there is a wide range of social problems. As our society advances more social problems are brought about. Suicide in American is one of the biggest and oldest social problems in today’s society. Suicide is the human act of self-inflicted or self-intentioned cessation. For medical, legal and administrative purposes suicide is often described as one of four modes of death. Today there are 140 different possible causes of death but there are only four possible modes.
The four modes are described in the acronym NASH, which is natural death, accidental death, suicide, and homicide. Suicide is rated third leading cause of death for teenagers between the age of 10 and 19 in 1997. It is only surpassed by car accidents and homicides. Every 18 minutes someone commits suicide. The rate of suicide increases as the individuals age increases because of the lack of social ties with others. Women tend to commit suicide more often then men do and each sex has their own tendencies. Women tend to attempt suicide in less sudden and lethal methods such as over dosing on pills or cutting themselves. While men usually commit suicide by hanging, jumping or the most frequently; firearms. Nearly 60 percent of all successful suicides are committed with a firearm.
Men are also three or four times more likely to succeed in their attempts because of the methods that are used. Suicide is a very devastating social problem because it does not just affect one person. When a person commits suicide everyone is affected. Family members, friends, neighbors are all united in grief, confusion and guilt. There is also always the sense that if only one had done something differently, the suicide could have been prevented. Suicide is varied and complicated. Very often in western societies suicide has been treated as a disease, yet it is not. Suicide involves ones conceptualization of death and an individuals tortured and tunneled logic in a state of inner felt intolerable emotions. Suicide has many psychological characteristics. It has been related to many emotions such as hostility, despair, shame, guilt, dependency, and hopelessness.
William Stekel said “no one kills himself who has not wanted to kill another or at least wished the death of another.” This became the psychoanalytic formulation that suicide represents hostility towards the interjected love object. Although since there has been much more study on the subject of suicide many new theories have come about. Currently, psycho dynamically oriented suicidologists believe that hostility is plays a very important rule in suicide but other emotional states play the dominant role. The emotional states that suicidologists believe play an even bigger role are frustrated dependency, hopelessness, and helplessness. Also these suicidologists believe that there are three general psychological characteristics of suicide. the first characteristic is the acute suicidal crisis.
This is a very dangerous period for an individual because he or she is at the peak of self-destruction for a short while. This stage often only lasts a brief time or until the individual is helped, cools off, or has committed suicide. The second characteristic is ambivalence. In this stage the suicidal person wants to kill them selves but at the same time does not want to. Plans are made for the suicide attempt but at the same time the suicidal person entertains fantasies of someone coming to their rescue. For example, it would not be unusual for a person who tried to cut his or her own throat to scream for help. The third and final characteristic states that every suicide is a two-person event. This two-person out-look on suicide has two aspects. The first is when one must deal with the “significant other” in preventing the suicide. The other is in the aftermath of suicide in which one must deal with the survivor victim. It is also believed that most suicidal tensions are between two people that are known to each other such as parent-child or lover-lover. Sociologists first believed that suicide reflects the impact of society on the individual. This has now been considered to be false because it does not account for the fact that if two people were put in similar circumstances that one person will seek suicide, as the answer while the other will not. External conditions and group patterns are now said to be encouraging factors. Suicide is now thought of as a personal reaction to an encouraging factor.
There are also many fantasies that go along with suicide. Many suicidal people have fantasies of why there are going to commit suicide. One fantasy is identification with a lost object. These relations are characterized by the need of a person to feel “one with the object.” These fantasies are most associated with the feeling of loyalty. People may use suicide to reunite themselves with a loved one who has been lost. Rebirth is another fantasy associated with suicide. The idea of “starting all over” is adopted by the suicidal. The person makes death more acceptable by persuading himself that death will not only bring relief but renewal. The fantasy of escaping the suffering and misery of ones own life is also used as a fantasy. Suicidal people see death releasing them from suffering. This is more common among the elderly because they are preoccupied by the idea that they have lost all that is important to them in life so, life itself, is not worth living. Revenge is the best-known fantasy to suicidologists. these fantasies represent the ultimate act of revenge aimed at a disappointing object or a real or imagined persecutor. These revenge fantasies are considered a homicide that has been turned against ones self. The suicidal have interplay between murderous impulses and suicidal drives within themselves. This theory was not understood until it was tackled by Sigmund Freud, one of the earliest suicidologists. Freud said that in pathological depression the subject identifies with a hated and loved object. When a suicidal person has feelings of loss, disappointment the love with be projected as hate. When this happens the tendency to commit suicide may become overwhelming. The idea is that when one destroys oneself, the subject also destroys the object.