A small amount of people who commit suicide do not show any warning signs of suicide before committing the act, but the majority of people considering killing themselves will exhibit some sign that there is a serious problem. The list of warning signs of suicide is quite long, and when some of the warning signs are experienced alone, it may not seem to be a warning sign at all. Taking proper precautions when a warning sign is exhibited, however, may help prevent a suicide and offer the suicidal person a safe way to deal with the issues causing them pain and stress.
Perhaps the most common warning signs of suicide include depression and withdrawal from friends and family. Violent mood swings may also be an indicator; a suicidal person may spend a significant amount of time depressed, melancholy, or anxious, and then suddenly perk up to an almost absurd degree. Daily habits will be affected as well. The suicidal person may eat and drink irregularly, or not at all; he or she may also go on eating binges, but this is less common than a cessation of daily food intake. Sleep habits are very often disrupted; the suicidal person may stop sleeping at night, or he or she may begin sleeping for long periods of time during the day. He or she may also have difficulty getting out of bed in the morning.
Substance abuse may also be one of the warning signs of suicide. A suicidal person is likely to go on drinking binges or to take dangerous drugs that are hazardous to his or her health. Such substance abuse may exacerbate other common warning signs of suicide: feelings of hopelessness or sadness, or even impulsive or dangerous behaviors. The suicidal person may begin performing poorly in his or her school work, or he or she may stop working effectively at a job. A loss of interest in hobbies and activities is a very good indicator that a person may be suicidal, and substance abuse can again exacerbate such behavior.
Some of the most obvious warning signs of suicide include talking regularly about suicide, or attempting suicide. Many people who feel suicidal think about the act fairly often, so it is not uncommon for them to vocalize those desires. That person may even write a will or begin giving away possessions. Self-mutilation can indicate a deeper problem or a "cry for help" in which the suicidal person wants to make his or her suicidal thoughts known without overtly stating them.