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Verbal Threats Of Suicide Essay, Research Paper
verbal threats of suicide. So how can the physician determine when a
patient should be diagnosed as depressed or suicidal? Brown (1996)
suggested the best way to diagnose is to “screen out the vulnerable
groups of children and adolescents for the risk factors of suicide and
then refer them for treatment.” Some of these “risk factors” include
verbal signs of suicide within the last three months, prior attempts at
suicide, indication of severe mood problems, or excessive alcohol and
Many physicians tend to think of depression as an illness of adulthood.
In fact, Brown (1996) stated that “it was only in the 1980’s that mood
disorders in children were included in the category of diagnosed
psychiatric illnesses.” In actuality, 7-14% of children will experience
an episode of major depression before the age of 15. An average of
20-30% of adult bipolar patients report having their first episode
before the age of 20. In a sampling of 100,000 adolescents, two to
three thousand will have mood disorders out of which 8-10 will commit
suicide (Brown, 1996). Blackman (1995) remarked that the suicide rate
for adolescents has increased more than 200% over the last decade.
Brown (1996) added that an estimated 2,000 teenagers per year commit
suicide in the United States, making it the leading cause of death after
accidents and homicide. Blackman (1995) stated that it is not uncommon
for young people to be preoccupied with issues of mortality and to
contemplate the effect their death would have on close family and
Once it has been determined that the adolescent has the disease of
depression, what can be done about it? Blackman (1995) has suggested
two main avenues to treatment: “psychotherapy and medication.” The
majority of the cases of adolescent depression are mild and can be dealt
with through several psychotherapy sessions with intense listening,
advice and encouragement. Comorbidity is not unusual in teenagers, and
possible pathology, including anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder,
learning disability or attention deficit hyperactive disorder, should be
searched for and treated, if present (Blackman, 1995). For the more
severe cases of depression, especially those with constant symptoms,
medication may be necessary and without pharmaceutical treatment,
depressive conditions could escalate and become fatal. Brown (1996)
added that regardless of the type of treatment chosen, “it is important
for children suffering from mood disorders to receive prompt treatment
because early onset places children at a greater risk for multiple
episodes of depression throughout their life span.”
Until recently, adolescent depression has been largely ignored by
health professionals but now several means of diagnosis and treatment
exist. Although most teenagers can successfully climb the mountain of
emotional and psychological obstacles that lie in their paths, there are
some who find themselves overwhelmed and full of stress. How can
parents and friends help out these troubled teens? And what can these
teens do about their constant and intense sad moods? With the help of
teachers, school counselors, mental health professionals, parents, and
other caring adults, the severity of a teen’s depression can not only be
accurately evaluated, but plans can be made to improve his or her
well-being and ability to fully engage life.
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