More recently, the FDA began investigating Chantix, a newer smoking cessation drug that may increase moodiness and suicidal thoughts in patients who take it.
Societal change may also affect suicide risk in middle age, either in the form of a more mobile, less connected society with more single-person households, or in an age group more likely to be facing change such as job changes, divorce, remarriage, serious illness and caregiving for elderly parents.
We may never figure out why so many more people are committing suicide. Even if a person's medical or mental health history is well known before a suicide, there's no way to know their thoughts and reasons at the time of the suicide. A study of suicides in Japan found that less than 40 percent of suicides left notes.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, get help. Contact a medical professional or call a suicide hotline. If you cannot find a local number, call the National Hopeline Network at 1-800-SUICIDE or National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.
Reviewed by David Slotnick, M.D.