In 2010 there were 38,364 documented suicides in America. This is roughly 1/10th of unsuccessful attempts (or parasuicides) committed. Though many of these are “cries for help” and are intentionally foiled by the person committing the act, some are genuinely unsuccessful. 25% of parasuicide victims will go on to success within a year.
By far the most common and successful method of committing suicide is by gun, with 53-55% of successful suicides in the US using them. Second in popularity and success to suicide by gun is suicide by suffocation/hanging with roughly 22-25% using this method. Third to suffocation is poisoning, which includes intentional drug overdoses and consumption of toxic substances. About 18% use this method.
There are many other methods used, some uncommon due to circumstances such as the high amount of pain and discomfort experienced, or the fear associated with these methods. Some of these methods are downright unsuccessful, or are accidents occurring whilst crying for help.
These methods are as follow: Falling/jumping, cutting/piercing, drowning, self immolation, and transportation related suicides such as driving into walls, throwing yourself into a train, bus, car, etc. All methods, of course can be used in combination. ex: Slash your wrists, eat 80 Benadryl, douse yourself in gasoline, light a cigarette, and throw yourself off of an overpass in front of a Greyhound, semi, truck, Prius, etc. This will make a particularly newsworthy story, getting you the attention you sought in life for all of four days.
Suicide by Gun:
Chances of success increase when a shotgun is used in comparison to a rifle or handgun. This is due to the energy delivered on impact, as well as the scatter of projectiles, rather that one. However, a shotgun is harder to aim at more fatal points, such as the side and back of the head. Aiming at the head is of course a more fatal delivery point, as opposed to the chest or abdomen. By far the least successful method and delivery point being a handgun to the chest and/or abdomen. For a best possible result, use shotgun equipped with a solid lead slug, or double-aught (or larger) buckshot.
Chances of success fall when using an unmaintained firearm, or old ammunition, as aged ammunition may not reach proper velocity or even discharge. The same effect applies to an unmaintained firearm. FMJ (full metal jacket rounds) also have a lesser chance of success as the round when expelled does not expand, creating a cleaner wound, and inflicting less damage on impact.
A firearm is not suitable for a suicidal gesture, as the chances of success are much higher than other methods.
Possible effects of failing: Disfigurement, paralysis, pain, infection, brain damage, damage to liver, spleen, diaphragm, and collapsed lungs.
The scene left behind, of course will not be pleasant for the person who finds you. Blood, bone and/or brain fragments spread over the area, facial disfigurement, and significant blood loss.
Suicide by Hanging:
There are two basic methods of hanging: simple suspension and drop.
In simple suspension, death is most likely caused by asphyxiation due to the weight of the body being suspended in the noose. Death is also possible by arterial and/or vein compression, cutting off blood supply to the brain, or heart and lungs.
In drop hanging, a platform is kicked out from under the person, and the person drops, instantly breaking the neck and rupturing the spinal cord, causing an almost instant death.
A key part of hanging is the knot. Tie a simple noose with some sturdy rope, such as hemp or manila. Test the noose, as it should tighten with applied pressure. The knot should sit behind your neck. The other end of the rope should be attached to something sturdy that will not move, or break, such as a hook, rafter, or railing. The knot should be tied securely to ensure that it doesn’t slip off of the surface. Strangulation can be achieved by sitting down, bending the knees, laying down, or kicking a platform (such as a chair) out from under you. Of course, it should be mentioned again that the rope should be sturdy, as the body will thrash in its death throes.
If the hanging is interrupted by discovery, rope breakage, or slippage, brain damage can occur.
As with before, the scene left behind will not be pleasant for those who discover you. Often, the tongue will swell and protrude from the mouth; the face will often turn blue due to oxygen and blood deprivation. In all cases there will be defecation and urination.
Suicide by Drug Overdose:
When used as a sole means of suicide, drug overdose is seldom successful. The potency of street drugs commonly used (such as heroin) is commonly unreliable. MLD (minimum lethal dosage) is often hard to calculate and is somewhat unreliable due to outside factors such as weight, tolerance, and whether not a meal has been eaten recently. Contrary to popular belief, this is not a quick and painless method. It takes anywhere from 3 to 10 hours on average, depending on the drug taken. Several drugs cause convulsions before death. Even more drugs cause vomiting, fever, heart palpitations and pain. Drug overdose a risky and unreliable method.
An exit bag is a suicide apparatus that brings about a relatively quick and painless death. Manufactured out of a large plastic bag with a draw cord or a Velcro strap for neck fastening and an inert gas such as helium or nitrogen; it brings a quick end to things, without unwanted pain or panic. Unconsciousness sets in within minutes and death sets in within twenty minutes. The result is a quick and painless death with a body that seems serine and at peace. Of course if the act is interrupted it can result in brain damage, which is why it should be carried out in an undisturbed setting. A suicide bag is sometimes used along side with a drug overdose, in order to ensure the desired result.
Suicide by Jumping:
Death by jumping is effective if done from a sufficient height, and while it is not common in the United States, it makes up a large amount of suicides in many cities and countries around the world, such as Hong Kong. A jump should be performed at a height of 150 feet or higher above land, or 250 feet or higher above water. Of course, care should be taken to land on your head, as it would result in a quicker death. It is key to avoid a foot first water landing, as this could result in nonfatal injuries. Jumping is a difficult way to commit suicide as the natural self preservation instinct is to not fall from a great height. This is hard to overcome. This method, of course results in a fairly gruesome corpse.
Suicide by Train:
Suicide by train is a rather uncommon and extremely gruesome method to end your life with. Death can be rather quick, but it can also be drawn out and extremely painful. If you aren’t decapitated, there is a chance that you could bounce off of the train, and find one of your limbs on the tracks. Injuries can range from broken bones to amputations, and severe brain damage.
Suicide by train can be traumatic to many people such as train drivers, cleanup crews, and the family member/ loved one that will have to identify your body later on at the scene or in the morgue.
Wrist cutting is mostly practiced as a method of self harm rather than suicide, though it occasionally leads to death due to unchecked bleeding that can lead to shock, and loss of consciousness. Often survivors find that they have limited use of their hands due to severed tendons and loss of nerve use and the ability to touch.
Though it may seem like the only option or a quick way out of your problems, suicide is effectively stealing everything from your, as well as your loved one’s future. Often the reasoning behind it is faulty, selfish, and subjective. One should always look at every available option and make an educated decision when it comes to serious situations and decisions such as suicide. When you say you’re alone in something remember that there are over seven billion others, most living and functioning in worse condition than you.