Don't Fall on the Sword Before Your Time

Suicide now leading cause of death not by disease or health condition

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) There are only so many ways to reduce your risk of coming to an untimely end. But there is an easy way to avoid the number one cause of non-illness death: don't commit suicide.

A recent study has found that suicide is now the number one cause of "external" death. Deaths from car accidents is the second leading cause.

The top five causes of injury death, in order, were found to be suicide, motor vehicle crashes, poisoning, falls and murder.

Suicide is never the answer. 

"Call 1-800-273-8255 for help."

The study, led by Ian Rockett, PhD, MPH, of the Department of Epidemiology in the School of Public Health at Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center, looked at the top five causes of death from injury in the US.

They used data from the US for the years 2000 through 2009. Death from accidental poisoning increased 128 percent, and accidental fall deaths increased 71 percent.

Suicide only increased 15 percent, but that brought it to the number one spot.

Deaths from car accidents dropped 25 percent. "Comprehensive traffic safety measures have successfully reduced the national motor vehicle traffic crash mortality rate," the authors wrote.

Women had a lower rate of death from injury than men did.

People were also more likely to die from accidental falls the older they were.

African-Americans and Latinos were less likely to die in car accidents or by suicide than whites, but they were more likely to die of homicide.

Overall, the rate of deaths from injuries were lower for African-Americans and Latinos than for whites.

The study was published September 20 in the American Journal of Public Health.

The research was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. No author conflicts of interest were noted.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
September 22, 2012
Last Updated:
November 19, 2012