A 38-year-old member asked:
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how can you tell the difference between a suicide attempt and a gesture?

2 doctor answers
Dr. Carla Enriquez
49 years experience Pediatrics
Takes a professional: An attempt means that someone tried to actually kill themself. A gesture is posturing about the action. We are very concerned if someone has a plan for suicide, has left a note, and is expected to try. Gestures are more commonly associated with manipulation of people to gain credence or attention.
Answered on Jan 4, 2017
Dr. Glen Elliott
42 years experience Child Psychiatry
Take acts seriously: Especially with children and adolescents, there may be a poor understanding of what an action can do. For example, an overdose of tylenol (acetaminophen) may be intended as a "cry for help, " but high enough doses can destroy the liver, which may lead to death. Any suicide attempt, no matter how unlikely to cause harm, merits detailed attention to what is making like seem so bad.
Answered on Nov 23, 2016
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Don't know: These terms may have different definitions in different legal jurisdictions. Neither is a clinical term.
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