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Suicide is a complex and increasingly significant problem in our society. The alarming increase in suicide among teenagers, young adults and seniors requires more research into societal and stress factors. Some suicidal risk factors can vary with age, gender, and ethnicity, and they may even change over time. The risk factors for suicide often occur in combination. Research reveals that 90% of the people who kill themselves have depression or some other mental or substance abuse disorder, and that changes in the neurotransmitters in the brain, e.g. serotonin levels, are associated with the level of suicidal risk. Diminished levels of this brain chemical are seen in patients with depression, compulsive disorders, or a history of violent suicidal attempts, and also appear in the postmortem brains of suicide victims. When tragic or difficult life events are combined with other risk factors like depression, they become the perfect recipe for suicidal ideation. However, suicide and suicidal behavior are not normal responses to stress. Many people have one or more of these risk factors and are not suicidal. Where an attempted suicide has occurred doctors often find a history of prior suicide attempts; a family history of mental disorder or substance abuse; a family history of suicide or family violence, including physical or sexual abuse; or a family environment where guns are stored in the home. Most suicide attempts are in response to extreme stress, an overwhelming sense of hopelessness, and the need to escape – they are not harmless cries for attention.
If you suspect that a family member or friend is suicidal, you should not leave them alone. Instead you should seek immediate medical and mental health treatment.
There are many more suicidal attempts than completed suicides, but 10% of those who attempted suicide go on to commit suicide at a later date. Studies reveal that 75% of all completed suicides showed signs of despair within a few weeks or months prior to the suicide. Just because the person does not seem to have major problems, does not mean they are not suicidal.
It isn’t how bad the problem is, but rather, how badly the person is hurting that dictates their action.
Suicide claims the lives of more adolescents than any disease or natural cause. Adolescents now commit suicide at a higher rate than the national average of all other age groups. Social changes that may relate to the rise in adolescent suicide include increased incidence of childhood depression, decreased family foundation and stability, and increased access to guns.
Adolescents often try to help a suicidal friend by themselves. They feel bound to secrecy, or they think that adults can’t be trusted. But, if the friend does commit suicide, that adolescent will feel guilty. It is important to talk to teenagers and tell them what they should do and why they should take the action of getting help for a friend, even if it seems like they are being disloyal. A friend can listen to the suicidal and offer support, but then they should insist on getting immediate adult assistance.
What are the symptoms?
How is it diagnosed and treated?
Suicidal behavior is often associated with depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, substance abuse, or anxiety. Because symptoms of suicide precede the actual attempt, doctors typically see patients who are referred by family or friends. They perform physical and mental evaluations to rule out other disease, and will interview the patient and family members to look for symptoms and signs listed above.
Treatment(s) can include:
This Week's Bipolar News
Deficits in Social Cognition May Affect Bipolar Disorder Functional Outcomes
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The Warning Signs Of An Impending Bipolar Disorder Manic Episode
Bipolar disorder - as the name implies - involves two distinct set of symptoms. One set throws the individual down into the depths of a massive depression. The other places the individual who suffers with bipolar disorder at the top of a peak manic episode.
Most everyone can eventually recognize the warning signs of an impending depressive episode related to bipolar disorder. More likely than not, individuals with bipolar disorder try very hard to avoid it.
However, for many individuals with bipolar disorder, it's more difficult to recognize the signs of an impending manic episode. After all, a manic episode of bipolar disorder can be mistaken in some cases - especially in the very early formation -- for the lifting of the corresponding mood swing of the depression.
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