- What causes adolescents to attempt suicide?
- Teen Suicide - Health Encyclopedia - University of Rochester Medical Center
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- What is suicidal behavior?
You can have the thought of suicide, known as 'intent' or 'ideation' or the behavior or gesture. An intent to cause one's death is essential in the definition.
Suicidal ideation refers to thoughts of suicide or wanting to take one's own life. Suicidal behavior refers to actions taken by one who is considering or preparing to cause his or her own death. Suicide attempt or gesture usually refers to an act focused on causing one's own death that is unsuccessful in causing death. Suicide refers to having intentionally caused one's own death. Adolescence is a stressful developmental period filled with major changes — body changes, changes in thoughts, and changes in feelings.
Strong feelings of stress, confusion, fear, and uncertainty, as well as pressure to succeed, and the ability to think about things in new ways, influence a teenager's problem-solving and decision making abilities. For some teenagers, normal developmental changes, when compounded by other events or changes in their families, such as divorce or moving to a new community, changes in friendships, difficulties in school, or other losses, can be very upsetting and can become overwhelming. Problems may appear too difficult or embarrassing to overcome.
For some, suicide may seem like a solution. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, reliable scientific research has found the following:.
What causes adolescents to attempt suicide?
The strongest risk factors for attempted suicide in youth are depression, substance abuse, and aggressive or disruptive behaviors. Yet boys die by suicide about four times as often girls, perhaps because they tend to use more lethal methods, such as firearms, hanging, or jumping from heights. It can be hard to remember how it felt to be a teen, caught in that gray area between childhood and adulthood. Sure, it's a time of tremendous possibility, but it also can be a period of stress and worry.
There's pressure to fit in socially, to perform academically, and to act responsibly.
Teen Suicide - Health Encyclopedia - University of Rochester Medical Center
Adolescence is also a time of sexual identity and relationships and a need for independence that often conflicts with the rules and expectations set by others. Suicide among teens often happens after a stressful life event, such as problems at school, a breakup with a boyfriend or girlfriend, the death of a loved one, a divorce , or a major family conflict. Many teens who commit or attempt suicide have given some type of warning to loved ones ahead of time. So it's important for parents to know the warning signs so teens who might be suicidal can get the help they need.
Some adults feel that kids who say they are going to hurt or kill themselves are "just doing it for attention.
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Getting attention in the form of ER visits, doctor's appointments, and residential treatment generally is not something teens want — unless they're seriously depressed and thinking about suicide or at least wishing they were dead. It's important to see warning signs as serious, not as "attention-seeking" to be ignored.
Keep a close eye on a teen who is depressed and withdrawn. Understanding depression in teens is very important since it can look different from commonly held beliefs about depression. For example, it may take the form of problems with friends, grades, sleep, or being cranky and irritable rather than chronic sadness or crying. It's important to try to keep the lines of communication open and express your concern, support, and love.
If your teen confides in you, show that you take those concerns seriously. A fight with a friend might not seem like a big deal to you in the larger scheme of things, but for a teen it can feel immense and consuming. It's important not to minimize or discount what your teen is going through, as this can increase his or her sense of hopelessness.
If your teen doesn't feel comfortable talking with you, suggest a more neutral person, such as another relative, a clergy member, a coach, a school counselor, or your child's doctor. Some parents are reluctant to ask teens if they have been thinking about suicide or hurting themselves. Some fear that by asking, they will plant the idea of suicide in their teen's head. These problems may seem too hard or embarrassing to overcome. For some, suicide may seem like a solution. Risk factors may change over time. These signs may look like other health problems. Make sure your teen sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Threats of suicide are a cry for help. Always take such statements, thoughts, behaviors, or plans very seriously. Any teen who expresses thoughts of suicide should be evaluated right away.
What is suicidal behavior?
Any teen who has tried to commit suicide needs a physical checkup first to rule out life-threatening health problems. He or she should then get a mental health evaluation and treatment until he or she is stable. It will also depend on how severe the condition is. Learning the warning signs of teen suicide can prevent an attempt.
Keeping open communication with your teen and his or her friends gives you an opportunity to help when needed.
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