Teen Suicide

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CHAPTER 2
Causes of Suicide among Teenagers

According to the book “Filipino Children under Stress” written by author Maria Lourdes Arellano-Carandang, teenage suicides are often caused by mental problems, substance abuse, family history of suicide, and other stressors such as bullying and financial dilemma. As Dr. Philip Chua from a blog site of Noemi Lardizabal-Dado would say:

“People usually attempt suicide to block unbearable emotional pain, which is caused by a wide variety of problems. It is often a cry for help. A person attempting suicide is often so distressed that they are unable to see that they have other options.”

Delving in deeper, I would like to elaborate more on these various causes:

* SUBSTANCE ABUSE
Did you know that the frequency of suicide attempts among substance abusers is five times greater than the frequency among people who do not abuse substances? This is particularly true for alcoholics, because major depression is 50 percent more common among alcoholics than non-alcoholics. Ironically, many people drink alcohol or use drugs such as cocaine to reduce feelings of depression not knowing that these actually lead to greater anxiety, depression, and thoughts of suicide.

In February 7, 2004, a 17-year old young woman named Traci Johnson committed suicide after allegedly taking an antidepressant called Cymbalta for a trial made by a pharmaceutical giant “Eli Lilly & Co.”

On an article made by Jeanne Lenzer and Nicholas Pyke for the Independent-UK, it said that: “For the drugs giant, her death on 7th February last year was an "isolated tragedy" that did not prevent it from pressing ahead with the Cymbalta trials. It is now on sale in the US and - under another name - in Europe and the UK.  

But for the scientific community it was another warning bell about a class of medicines already under scrutiny for possible ties to suicide. After all, Johnson was not depressed. Far from it. She enrolled in the clinical trial as a healthy volunteer in order to earn money to pay for her college tuition. Anyone with signs of depression was excluded.”

* MENTAL PROBLEMS
Studies by the National Institute of Mental Health in America have shown that 90% of people who die from suicide have one or more psychiatric disorders at the time of their death. These diagnosable mental illnesses include Depression or Bipolar disorder, Schizophrenia, Personality, Anxiety, and ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Comorbidity, as defined by the 8th edition of Mosby’s Medical Dictionary, is the coexisting of two or more medical conditions in addition to a primary disease or disorder. Experts say that the more comorbid a person is, the higher the risk of suicide will be present. On the 13th of January 2003, death by suicide had taken over the life of a 16 year old girl named Karla Smith who was suffering from both Schizophrenia and Bipolar disorder. From an interview by Julie Heifetz with her brother Kevin Smith in an online site of the Suicide Prevention Action Network USA (SPAN), he said that:

“The what-if's and should-have's haunted me for several weeks and months after her death. While it still is hard for me to believe that it actually happened to my family, I've learned acceptance through a new perspective. Karla had an illness and as much as I wanted to help her cure it, that cure was out of my control. Not everyone with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia dies by suicide, but some do and Karla was one of those people. I can say it now and I can accept it now because there's nothing I could have done to change it.”

* FAMILY HISTORY OF SUICIDE
According to Dr. David Brent, psychiatrist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical center, a first-degree relative -- a parent, sibling or child -- of a person who has committed suicide is four to six times more...
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