Adolescent Suicide Integration of CBT and Self-Psychology Term Paper

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Adolescent suicide integration of CBT and self-Psychology

Adolescent Suicide: Integration of CBT and Self-Psychology

Determining why children and adolescents commit suicide is a concern that many individuals in the helping professions face. Obviously, they commit suicide because they are depressed in many instances, but it is also accurate to say that there are other reasons why many of these adolescents choose to take their own lives. Some of them are involved in substance abuse and other issues that cause them to think suicide is the right idea. Others are involved with crowds of other adolescents that drag them down into painful issues and problems that they have trouble facing. When this happens, some of these individuals begin to feel that they are trapped in these problems, and the only way that some of them find to escape those problems is through suicide. Tragic though it is, it becomes the choice all too often - especially when the adolescent already has a mental disorder.

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As for who commits suicide, it appears that boys are four times more likely than girls to complete suicide, but girls are two times more likely than boys to attempt suicide (HHS, 1999). Among adolescents age 9-17 5% have depression, and depression can lead to suicide if it goes untreated (Shaffer, Gould, Fisher, Trautment, Moreau, Kleinman, & Flory, 1996). Between 1980 and 1997, the suicide rate in 15 to 19-year-olds increased by 11% and the rate of suicide in 10 to 14-year-olds increased by a staggering and troubling 109% (Stanard, 2000). Among those in the 15 to 19-year-old age group, suicide causes more deaths than any kind of disease, and in the 15 to 24-year-old category, suicide is the third leading cause of death, behind accidental death and homicide (CDC, 2000).

History of Adolescent Suicide

Term Paper on Adolescent Suicide Integration of CBT and Self-Psychology Assignment

Originally, most of the information that was collected about antidepressant drugs was collected based on 'average-aged' adults, and because of this there was no hard evidence that they worked well and were safe in children and the elderly (Renaud, Axelson, & Birmaher, 1999). Newer evidence indicates that, in most instances, many of the antidepressant medications are relatively safe for most individuals, regardless of age (Renaud, Axelson, & Birmaher, 1999), although there have been very recent concerns about the suicide risk of Zoloft in the very young, especially. In general, however, medications are recommended for certain groups. These include those that are unable to or unwilling to undergo any kind of counseling, those that have not yet responded to counseling after 8 to 12 sessions, and those that have atypical or severe depression, recurrent depression, or bipolar disorder (Renaud, Axelson, & Birmaher, 1999).

The most widely used drugs are the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac and Paxil (Renaud, Axelson, & Birmaher, 1999). These seem to work the best in the adolescent population with the lowest side effects, and they are easy to use (Renaud, Axelson, & Birmaher, 1999). They also have a very low risk of death if they are taken in too large of a dose either accidentally or deliberately (Renaud, Axelson, & Birmaher, 1999). This does not mean that these are entirely safe for all young people, or that all depressed adolescents should be on medication. However, it does indicate that many of these drugs can generally be taken safely by most adolescents without much fear of painful side effects or dangerous behaviors that could harm the individual (Renaud, Axelson, & Birmaher, 1999).

There are specific clinical practice guidelines where depression is concerned. These are also important to discuss because they help others understand how depression is determined and treated. However, it is also important to note that various agencies have created their own guidelines for depression and that not all of them agree with the others. In short, there are several sets of guidelines that deal with depression, instead of just one universally accepted guideline that is used by all. In general, however, guidelines reflect information that there must be specific criteria for depression including: depressed mood; loss of interest or pleasure; significant weight or appetite change; insomnia or hypersomnia; psychomotor agitation or retardation; fatigue or loss of energy; feelings of inappropriate guilt or worthlessness; diminished ability to think or concentrate; and/or recurrent thoughts of death or suicide (Stanard, 2000).

The depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure must be one of the symptoms that are found in the patient, regardless of the other symptoms (Stanard, 2000). Even though these guidelines exist, they are no real substitute for the opinion of a thoroughly trained individual and should not be used as an absolute when looking for depression, especially in adolescents, because they can exhibit symptoms that are different from others simply because their lives are often very different.

Depression is a very important issue, because it can lead very quickly to suicidal behavior in many individuals. Everyone gets depressed sometimes, but clinical depression is usually severe and long-lasting. If it is not treated, adolescents that have it can become so despondent with what is going on in their lives that they cannot see the point of living anymore. This becomes terribly painful for them, and if they do commit suicide, their parents, friends, and other loved ones are left in turmoil, anguish, and a lack of understanding about why it happened.

The numbers of adolescents that commit suicide have been growing, as well. It is unfortunate and troubling, but the numbers do not lie. The rate at which young people are taking their own lives is continuing to rise, and there does not seem to be anything that is being done or can be done about it. Medications do not work for everyone, and not all of the individuals that need help are getting that help. For those that do seek help, however, much of what they discover when they look for help is that therapies of different kinds can be very effective in treating them for depression. When the depression lifts, the desire to take one's own life is no longer there, either.

Throughout history, adolescents have often struggled with persecution, either real or imagined. Often, they feel as though they are not understood by anyone else, and this can keep them from enjoying their lives or from feeling as though they can talk to others when they have problems or need help. They do not feel like anyone will listen to them, and so they decide that they are not going to take a chance on trying to talk to anyone. Often, they do not even talk to their friends, even though it would seem logical that their friends of the same age would have similar troubles. However, most adolescents are not aware of the fact that their friends have problems, too. They feel that they are the only ones that are struggling with the issues that they face, and so they do not say anything to anyone else. They just struggle in their silent misery, until eventually they decide that they do not want to be here anymore.

With the problems that adolescents are facing today, it is actually not that surprising that they are struggling with depression, anxiety, and other difficulties. Peer pressure is becoming more common, and the age at which young people are experimenting with drugs, alcohol, and sex keeps getting younger. These children are put under tremendous pressures, and when they say that adults do not understand, they are right to some extent, because adults did not have to deal with many of these things at the same ages that their children are dealing with them now. This makes it difficult for adults to relate to what their children are going through in today's ever-changing society.

If adolescents all felt as though they had someone to talk to that would not only listen but actually understand their problems it would be more likely that they would seek help and get support when they needed it. This could help to lower the number of adolescents throughout this country with untreated depression, which could also work to reduce the number of adolescent suicides and suicide attempts each year. These young people would be able to grow up and be healthy and have a life ahead of them, instead of being forced to struggle through pain. There is always some pain and angst in growing up, and it cannot be avoided, but the extent to which it is seen and felt can often be adjusted. There are certainly ways to help young people, but finding these ways is a difficult issue that must be addressed more thoroughly.

Epidemiology of Adolescent Suicide

Many people seem to feel that depression in adolescents is just something that individuals go through and that there is no real reason to be alarmed. Instead, these individuals must accept these feelings as part of growing up. However, depression is very real, and it is a disorder, not just something that comes with age. These individuals cannot just 'snap out… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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