Research on Suicide Rates Among Adolescents and Elderly

Topics: Suicide, Major depressive disorder, Psychiatry Pages: 12 (4556 words) Published: April 20, 2011
This research paper will present, compare and contrast the topic of suicide among the adolescent and the elderly. Focus will also include a description of an epidemiological, behavioral, and educational diagnosis. Both of these groups have problems with their suicide rates and also with the reasons behind the depression and suicide that they face. With adolescents, suicide risks come more from the problems that are faced with drugs, school, peer pressure, and other concerns. For the elderly, however, the reasons usually relate more to health problems, a lack of family and friend support, and other issues that people face as they get older. Here, therefore, it is important to examine the issues behind adolescent suicide as well as the issues behind eRelderly suicide. In Emile Durkheim’s (1997) book Suicide, he discusses not only the reasons and causes regarding suicide but also the components of sociological theory that show it is not only what comes from within a person that matters but also their outside environment and the things that happen to them throughout their lives. This gives strong evidence that peer pressure and or a lack of a good support system can affect suicide rates. Suicide among the Adolescents Determining why children and adolescents commit suicide is a concern that many individuals in the helping professions face. Obviously, they commit suicide because they are depressed in many instances, but it is also accurate to say that there are other reasons why many of these adolescents choose to take their own lives. Some of them are involved in substance abuse and other issues that cause them to think suicide is the right idea. Others are involved with crowds of other adolescents that drag them down into painful issues and problems that they have trouble facing. When this happens, some of these individuals begin to feel that they are trapped in these problems, and the only way that some of them find to escape those problems is through suicide. Tragic though it is, it becomes the choice all too often – especially when the adolescent already has a mental disorder. The CDC reported that the number of suicides in 1988 was 30,575 or 11.13 per 100,000 American populations. Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death. Females attempt suicide more than males, and males die four times more (73% white males). Among adolescents age 9-17 5% have depression, and depression can lead to suicide if it goes untreated (Shaffer, Gould, Fisher, Trautment, Moreau, Kleinman, & Flory, 1996). Between 1980 and 1997, the suicide rate in 15 to 19-year-olds increased by 11% and the rate of suicide in 10 to 14-year-olds increased by a staggering and troubling 109% (Stanard, 2000). Among those in the 15 to 19-year-old age group, suicide causes more deaths than any kind of disease, and in the 15 to 24-year-old category, suicide is the third leading cause of death, behind accidental death and homicide (CDC, 2004). Risk factors for adolescent suicide are many and various (Rubenstein, Heeren, Housman, Rubin, & Stechler, 1989). If an adolescent realizes that he or she is homosexual, that particular adolescent will have a higher suicide risk. Homosexual adolescents are not the only ones that have this increased risk, however (Rubenstein, Heeren, Housman, Rubin, & Stechler, 1989). Another risk factor for adolescents is having someone close to them commit suicide (Rubenstein, Heeren, Housman, Rubin, & Stechler, 1989). If the adolescent has been exposed to suicide early in life, they often have a stronger risk of committing that act themselves (Rubenstein, Heeren, Housman, Rubin, & Stechler, 1989). It would seem like an early exposure to a suicide early in life would frighten an adolescent badly and stop them from ever committing such as act, but it appears instead that there is a fascination with suicide at that point. The highest, risk, however, is from adolescents that already have a mental disorder. Approximately...
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