Tests and diagnosis

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Your doctor may do a physical exam, tests and in-depth questioning about your mental and physical health to help determine what may be causing your suicidal thinking and to determine the best treatment.

Assessments may include:

  • Mental health conditions. In most cases, suicidal thoughts are linked to an underlying mental health issue that can be treated. If this is the case, you may need to see a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental illness (psychiatrist) or other mental health provider.
  • Physical health conditions. In some cases, suicidal thinking may be linked to an underlying physical health problem. You may need blood tests and other tests to determine whether this is the case.
  • Alcohol and drug misuse. For many people, alcohol or drugs play a role in suicidal thinking and completed suicide. Your doctor will want to know whether you have any problems with alcohol or drug use — such as bingeing or being unable to cut back or quit using alcohol or drugs on your own. Many people who feel suicidal need treatment to help them stop using alcohol or drugs to reduce their suicidal feelings.
  • Medications. In some people, certain prescription or over-the-counter drugs can cause suicidal feelings. Tell your doctor about any medications you take to see whether they could be linked to your suicidal thinking.

Children and teenagers

Children who are feeling suicidal usually need to see a psychiatrist or psychologist experienced in diagnosing and treating children with mental health problems. The doctor will want to get an accurate picture of what's going on from a variety of sources, such as the young person, parents or guardians, others close to the child, school reports, and previous medical or psychiatric evaluations.

Aug. 28, 2015