Suicide And Self-Harm And Suicide In Adolescence

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Self-Harm and Suicide in Adolescence are two topics that are linked together but can have very different purposes and intentions behind them. While both are very concerning and painful topics they must be addressed separately due to their differences, while also acknowledging a tendency to coexist. Nonsuicidal self-injury, or NSSI, and suicide are differentiated by intention, frequency, and lethality of behavior. Some researchers have shown that these two types of self-injurious behavior often co-occur. Research is still somewhat scarce regarding the link between the two behaviors. It has been suggested that NSSI is a risk factor for suicidal behavior. NSSI is defined as “self-directed, deliberate destruction or alteration of bodily tissue in the absence of suicidal intent”. NSSI includes many different behaviors including, but not limited to, self-cutting, burning, scratching, head banging, and interfering with healing of wounds. Estimates of NSSI behaviors show that as many as 15-30% of adolescents in random community samples regularly engage, or have engaged, in these types of behaviors. These numbers show that this behavior, while disturbing, is by no means a rarity. Onset of NSSI behaviors has been shown to occur during adolescents, most commonly between 13 and 15 years of age. It has been shown that NSSI behaviors are slightly more common among females than in males during adolescence and females may also begin these behaviors at a younger age. This gender difference has not been noted in adults who engage in like behaviors. Girls are also more likely to partake in self cutting behaviors while boys are more likely to engage in self hitting and burning type behavior. Repetition of NSSI behavior is common, about 10–15% wit... ... middle of paper ... ...on CBT or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. CBT is “talk therapy” that seeks to identify cognitive deficits and distortions common in depressed adolescents. The adolescent and therapist will work together to problem solve these findings. Finally the therapist aims to teach the patient to self monitor as well as to learn new coping strategies. Sometimes therapy alone is not enough for treatment and medications can play an important role in aiding the biological aspects of the depressed brain. While there is still much debate surrounding the subject SSRI’s are currently the most widely prescribed meds for depressed adolescence. Although the incidence of self harming and suicide among adolescents is shocking and disheartening it is not hopeless. Many treatments exist to help teens overcome these issues and go on to lead full, successful, and more importantly, happy lives.

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