Suicide rates by age group
Respond to the following based on the information in the “Suicide Rates by Age Group” article:
1. What has been the trend in suicide rates over the past few years?
Suicide rates have declined overall for the 1970-2002 time period, however recently data collected has shown that there has been some increase in all age groups with the exception of adolescents from the lows of the 1980-199's period
2. What part of the U.S. has the highest suicide rate?
the highest rate was reported in the west with a 14.7 suicides per 100,000 people
3. List three risk factors for suicide.
the presence of fire arms in the home, previous major depression, suicidal ideation, and substance abuse
4. Many researchers worry that suicide rates for adolescents and older adults continue to increase. What does the research data show about these age groups?
Adolescent suicide rates rose sharply from the mid 1970's until the rate began to recede somewhat in the late 1990's and at the end of the study the rate had increased compared to the 1970 rate by 1.1%. Older adults (85+) have seen a fairly consistent rate of suicide hovering around the 20% mark until the end of the study where the percentage dropped to even lower numbers than the start of the study with an average of 15.6%
5. In the U.S., what demographic has the highest rate of suicide?
Older white men hold the highest rates for suicide completion in the US. White women and black men and women experience their highest level of suicide completion during their midlife.
6. List four possible reasons for the observed decrease in suicide rates.
Economic prosperity, healthier lifestyles leading to longevity, decline of substance abuse, and improved medical care are all possible factors in the decline of the overall suicide rates across all age groups.
7. Recent media reports have suggested that medications may provoke suicidal behavior, particularly in adolescents. As a precautionary step, the FDA issued a public health advisory warning doctors to watch patients closely for worsening depression when medication is first prescribed. What does the data show about the effects of medication and suicide?
The risk remain relatively low, despite the black box warning. The risks are similar to those with adults because antidepressants can create mania with patients at the beginning of treatment, adolescents are more susceptible to these manic episodes and that can increase the risks of suicide if suicidal thoughts were already present. Teens need to be watched closely for suicidal actions as well as adults at the beginning of treatment.
8. Once a patient begins medication for depression, when is that patient at the highest risk for suicidal ideation and behavior?
A patient is at the greatest risk for suicide at the beginning of treatment. The first 9 days are especially high risk but the effects can be felt for up to a month. With the beginning of treatment there is an increased energy level accompanied and the ability to make decisions more clearly, however if depression remains in that environment with previous suicidal ideation the risks escalate quickly. There is also the common thought that treatment is not sought after until the depression has reached a certain level, and suicidal thoughts have already began, treatment is a last ditch effort for some.
9. Based on the readings, what is your opinion on the use of medication to help control depression and reduce the risk of suicide?
I think that antidepressants are needed in the treatment for depression however, I think that they need to be used in conjunction with treatment plans. Research shows that the recovery with medication alone is short lived because without the coping skills to handle these feelings the depression will continue to reoccur. I think that they are safe when closely monitored by the patient and physician.