The Risk Of Suicide In Todays Teens
Any threat of suicide should be taken seriously. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger because of thoughts of suicide, please call 911 immediately.
If you do not live in the U.S., please call your local emergency number. Help is always available. Stay on the phone with the operator and wait for help to arrive.
Remember that other people care. If you are not in immediate danger, but want to talk with someone about your suicidal feelings, you can call the National Hopeline Network for Suicide Prevention at 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-784-2433. Recognizing the red flags could save a life.
Surveying Depression In The General Population
Depression traces back to a condition called melancholia. The concept of melancholia itself shifted in meaning several times in history. In ancient Greek medicine, it referred to a general condition of sadness and fear. From the 16th century, it was generally considered a type of insanity, and symptoms such as delusions and suspicion became more of a focus in these descriptions. Some people with these symptoms would likely be diagnosed with schizophrenia today.
From the late 18th century onwards, these symptoms became less emphasized, while fatigue and distress became more central to the diagnosis. Over the same time, the word depression was increasingly used in descriptions of melancholia. Since the 20th century, melancholia has been the name given to a severe subtype of depression.1
In the 19th century in Britain, for example, the diagnosis of melancholia was mainly used to decide who to admit to asylums. It was diagnosed based on the judgment of individual physicians who used different methods, and many asylums used broad definitions of suicidality. Talking about death, drinking too much alcohol, refusing food, having thoughts of guilt or damnation, having a fear of persecution, and any kind of self-harm could all be considered suicidal tendencies.2
For example, Kraepelin noticed that some people with psychosis also had periods of depression, while others did not. He called the former condition manic depression and the latter dementia praecox .
Deep Brain Stimulation Treatment
Deep Brain Stimulation is a new experimental treatment spearheaded by UCalgary researchers. Surgically implanted electrodes that convey pulses in the brain are being tested on people with severe depression who have not responded to other treatments.
The UCalgary researchers aim to find the optimal levels of stimulation that will boost the treatments effectiveness.
We get a lot of self-referrals, so the majority of the patients are referred by themselves or the family, says Dr. Raj Ramasubbu, a professor in the Cumming School of Medicine professor, an Alberta Health Services psychiatrist, and a member of the Mathison Centre for Mental Health Education & Research. Ramasubbu is a co-principal investigator in the study along with Dr. Zelma Kiss, a CSM associate professor and AHS neurosurgeon. Although it is an invasive procedure, patients are willing to come forward to take this treatment, because they are desperate and they want to try and get help, he says.
The study is based out of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute and Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research & Education, and was funded by Alberta Innovates .
As a researcher, Dr. Ramasubbu leads the clinical and imaging aspect of DBS research in depression. As a psychiatrist, his role is to identify the patients, do the proper assessment and then do the follow up. He looks at the improvement efficacy, as well as any side effects, and providing proper care for people who dont respond.
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Is Depression More Prevalent Today
As society continues to shift and change, stress and depression now seem to be more common. As mental health cases increase, many are left wondering: are people more depressed now? Although its tempting to answer yes, you should keep in mind that mental health wasnt always a common, or even acceptable, topic of conversation. Its only in the last decade or so that mental health is widely expressed, and only recently have people become more willing to discuss their own struggles with mental illness. The rise in the cases of major depressive disorder may result from a combination of social and technological advancements.
A study published in the Social Indicators Research Journal reported that college students in the 2010s were 50 percent more likely to feel overwhelmed than college students in the mid-1980s. The same study also reported that adults were more likely to say their sleep was restless, that they had poor appetite and everything they did required a lot of effort, which are all classic psychosomatic symptoms of depression.1 These results are some of the many that show the increase in individuals who suffer from a major depressive disorder. Fortunately, programs like our mental health residential program are available to help.
Untreated Depression Is A Common Cause Of Suicide
The proper diagnosis and treatment of depression is very important in preventing suicides. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 45% of those who commit suicide are suffering from some sort of mental illness. And this includes people with undiagnosed, untreated, or under-treated depression.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
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What Are The Treatments For Depression
Many helpful treatments for depression are available. Treatment for depression can help reduce symptoms and shorten how long the depression lasts. Treatment can include getting therapy and/or taking medications. Your doctor or a qualified mental health professional can help you determine what treatment is best for you.
- Therapy. Many people benefit from psychotherapyalso called therapy or counseling.7,8 Most therapy lasts for a short time and focuses on thoughts feelings and issues that are happening in your life now. In some cases understanding your past can help but finding ways to address what is happening in your life now can help you cope and prepare you for challenges in the future.With therapy, youll work with your therapist to learn skills to help you cope with life, change behaviors that are causing problems and find solutions. Do not feel shy or embarrassed about talking openly and honestly about your feelings and concerns. This is an important part of getting better.Some common goals of therapy include:
- Getting healthier
- Making sense of past painful events
- Identifying things that worsen your depression
- Having better relationships with family and friends
- Understanding why something bothers you and creating a plan to deal with it
Major Depression On The Rise Among Everyone New Data Shows
Major depression is on the rise among Americans from all age groups, but is rising fastest among teens and young adults, new health insurance data shows.
Depression rates also vary a lot state by state, with Rhode Island having the highest rate of depression at 6.4 percent. Hawaii has the lowest rate 2.1 percent.
The findings cover people with commercial health insurance Blue Cross and Blue Shield so theyre not fully representative. But most people in the U.S. are covered by a commercial health plan.
The findings are almost certainly an underestimate, as well. The Blue Cross Blue Shield data comes from 41 million health records and counts people who got a diagnosis of major depression. Many people who report symptoms of depression say they have not been diagnosed or sought treatment for it.
Whats behind the increase?
Many people are worried about how busy they are, said Dr. Laurel Williams, chief of psychiatry at Texas Childrens Hospital.
Theres a lack of community. Theres the amount of time that we spend in front of screens and not in front of other people. If you dont have a community to reach out to, then your hopelessness doesnt have any place to go.
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What Should You Know About Antidepressant Medicines
Antidepressant medicines often work well for children who are depressed. But there are some important things you should know about these medicines.
- Children who take antidepressants should be watched closely. These medicines may increase the risk that a child will think about or try suicide, especially in the first few weeks of use. If your child takes an antidepressant, learn the warning signs of suicide, and get help right away if you see any of them. Common warning signs include:
- Talking, drawing, or writing about death.
- Giving away belongings.
- Withdrawing from family and friends.
- Having a plan, such as a gun or pills.
Mental Or Emotional Symptoms
- Difficulty thinking and making decisions
- Having low self-esteem, being self-critical, and/or feeling that others are unfairly critical
- Feelings of guilt and hopelessness
- Social withdrawal, such as lack of interest in friends
- Anxiety, such as worrying too much or fearing separation from a parent
- Thinking about death or feeling suicidal
It’s important to watch for warning signs of suicide in your child or teen. These signs may change with age. Warning signs of suicide in children and teens may include preoccupation with death or suicide or a recent breakup of a relationship.
Depression can have symptoms that are similar to those caused by other conditions.
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Whats The Link Between Depression And Chronic Illness
In some people, a chronic illness causes depression. A chronic illness is an illness that lasts for a very long time and usually cannot be cured completely. However, chronic illnesses can often be controlled through diet, exercise, lifestyle habits, and certain medications. Some examples of chronic illnesses that may cause depression are diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, kidney disease, HIV and AIDS, lupus, and multiple sclerosis . Hypothyroidism may also lead to depressed feelings.
Researchers believe that treating the depression may sometimes also help the co-existing medical illness improve.
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The Symptoms Of Depression Tend To Change Over Time
This brings us to another important fact about depression: the symptoms change over time. This is true for whichsymptoms people report as well as how severe they are.
You can see this in the chart, among people who are diagnosed with depression. Patients total scores declined over time after they were diagnosed. The curves of depression scores shift towards the left when patients are surveyed months after the initial questionnaire. This effect is found across many different questionnaires, as shown.
One explanation for this is that their symptoms become milder over time. For example, patients are likely to seek help when they have very severe symptoms, which would become milder later on. This is known as regression to the mean. Another explanation is that there is a change in the combination of symptoms they report.20
What Are The Symptoms
A child may be depressed if he or she:
- Is irritable, sad, withdrawn, or bored most of the time.
- Does not take pleasure in things he or she used to enjoy.
A child who is depressed may also:
- Lose or gain weight.
- Sleep too much or too little.
- Feel hopeless, worthless, or guilty.
- Have trouble concentrating, thinking, or making decisions.
- Think about death or suicide a lot.
The symptoms of depression are often overlooked at first. It can be hard to see that symptoms are all part of the same problem.
Also, the symptoms may be different depending on how old the child is.
- Both very young children and grade-school children may lack energy and become withdrawn. They may show little emotion, seem to feel hopeless, and have trouble sleeping. Often they will lose interest in friends and activities they liked before. They may complain of headaches or stomach aches. A child may be more anxious or clingy with caregivers.
- Teens may sleep a lot or move or speak more slowly than usual. Some teens and children with severe depression may see or hear things that aren’t there or have false beliefs .
Depression can range from mild to severe. A child who feels a little “down” most of the time for a year or more may have a milder, ongoing form of depression called dysthymia . In its most severe form, depression can cause a child to lose hope and want to die.
Whether depression is mild or severe, there are treatments that can help.
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Depression Is A Real Illness
You are not weak or crazy. Depression is a real illness that researchers believe is caused mainly by imbalances in certain chemicals within your brain called neurotransmitters. Some experts are even starting to frame depression as a systemic disease.
The following neurotransmitters play an important role in regulating your mood as well as being involved in many other functions throughout your body:
- Dopamine: Helps regulate emotion, memory, thinking, motivation, and reward
- Norepinephrine: What makes your heart rate and blood pressure sore during a “fight or flight” response or stressful time
- Serotonin: The “feel-good” chemical that helps regulate your mood and plays a role in your overall sense of well-being
Researchers are continuing to learn more about what causes these imbalances as well as other neurotransmitters like acetylcholine, GABA, and glutamate, which may also play a role in depression.
As More And More Teenagers Face The Pressures Of The World Every Day Leading To Some Disturbing Statistics It Is Of Critical Importance To Aid Them
Suicide.org has developed statistics that are alarming to analyze: About 20 percent of all teenagers developed depression at some point before adulthood, of which only 30 percent are being treated for it, Anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of all teenagers feel the symptoms of depression at least once in their life, Approximately 66 percent of teenagers battle depression alongside other mood disorders.
Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego University, found that current teenagers face mental health problems five times greater than those during the GREAT DEPRESSION., through over 77,000 surveys ranging from 1938 to 2007.
These stats are the warning signs of the chaotic lives that might root from high levels of depression.
Teen suicides are on the rise a teenager takes their own life every 100 minutes, substance abuse rates are on the rise, Juvenile crime rate is on the rise.
Without immediate aid, the problem only grows more malignant.
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Looking At Depression In The Brain
UCalgary Associate Professor Dr. Andrea Protzner, PhD, has run a high-resolution electroencephalography lab to probe how cognitive operations emerge from brain functions in both the intact and the impaired brain. The research could benefit people who have Major Depressive Disorder , as well as people who have epilepsy.
Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide, and although treatment can be effective, there is still a high rate of nonresponse or relapse, up to one-third of patients, says Protzner.
This suggests that there is a need for further development of our current understanding of depression and its treatment, she says. Because it is widely seen as a brain network disorder, examining communication within and between brain regions may help us achieve a better understanding.
Her research has two aims. First, to characterize brain networks in terms of their integrity and functional capacity in an effort to identify potential indicators of illness, and subsequently of therapeutic success. Second, to identify differences in these network characteristics based on the patients age and illness history at treatment initiation.
This research is an important step towards developing individual neurodiagnostics, which would have direct impact on patient care, she says.
Economy Can Impact Mental Health
In our fast-paced, volatile and swiftly changing modern world, the focus on depression is timely. We need look no further than Calgary and the faltering economy to see the harsh effect on families and individuals. As detailed by Calgary Counselling Centre CEO Robbie Babins-Wagner in The Calgary Herald, when oil has gone down, mental distress has gone up.
Disturbing numbers tell the story of the economic downturn on our friends, colleagues and neighbours, says Babins-Wagner. Our evidence-based measure is showing increased rates of depression and other mental health challenges in our community.
The nearly 9,500 who sought help from the centre in 2016 was a 23 per cent increase over 2014. Stress and anxiety are flooding our community. Rates of depression, suicide and mental illness are rising.
Yet, there is good news, says Babins-Wagner: Depression is highly treatable. In fact, its the most treatable of all mental health problems, and the faster you seek help, the faster and better the results.
Things to remember:
- If you need help in Calgary and area or know someone who does, you can call the Calgary Counselling Centre at 403-691-5991 or go online any time and register for an appointment.
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