Subtle Suicide: Our Silent Epidemic of Ambivalence about Living

Subtle Suicide: Our Silent Epidemic of Ambivalence about Living

Subtle Suicide: Our Silent Epidemic of Ambivalence about Living

Subtle Suicide: Our Silent Epidemic of Ambivalence about Living


This volume offers a description and analysis of subtle suicide- a psychological condition whose victims don't care if they live or die, and thus act in self-defeating, self-damaging ways.

• Two distinguished authors, who developed the clinical concept of subtle suicide

• Dozens of case studies based on actually psychotherapy clients diagnosed as suffering from subtle suicide

• Biographical sketches of well-known people who exhibited subtle suicide behavior, including Marilyn Monroe, Anna Nicole Smith, Jim Morrison, and Evel Knievel

• An extensive bibliography of print and online resources on a full range of topics related to subtle suicide and conditions that feed into it


We have divided this book into two parts. in the first part, we introduce and define the concept of subtle suicide. At its simplest level, “subtle suicide” describes the dynamics of people who, though they may not overtly and genuinely try to kill themselves, nevertheless lead self-destructive lives because they honestly do not care if they live or die. Throughout our discussion, we use real case studies from our files to illustrate the variety of subtle suicide actions and some of the family dynamics that seem to reappear over many different cases. We end Part I with a chapter on how family members can identify and help the subtle suicide victim. This chapter is a practical, hands-on discussion to answer questions like, “What do I do and what do I say when I suspect someone I care for is moving down the subtle suicide road?”

Part ii is written more for the college undergraduate or graduate student and for professionals who work with clients in a counseling context. Here, we provide some historical context for the notion of subtle suicide and touch a bit on theoretical distinctions between our concept and similar ones offered by previous theorists and researchers. We end the second part with a discussion of the need for a formal instrument to measure subtle suicide and distinguish it from other diagnostic conditions.

Recognition of subtle suicide behavior is hardly new in psychology, but our treatment of it is. We stress how subtle suicide is often misdiagnosed as bipolar disorder or any one of a number of other psychological disorders, or as an addiction like gambling or alcohol/drug abuse. in the case of subtle suicide, such addictions are symptoms of deeper psychological conflicts. We have found that when people suffering from subtle suicide are made aware of their condition, they no longer feel alone and isolated. Furthermore, any addictive behaviors they are showing begin to make . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.