Depression And Suicide A Fatal Illness Essay

Depression And Suicide: A Fatal Illness Essay, Research Paper

Depression affects everyone’s life at sometime or another. Depression comes in a wide variety of forms, from mild unhappiness to a chemical imbalance in the mind. There are many different symptoms that reveal a person’s problem with depression. If left untreated, depression may continue to develop into a serious illness or even death.

Depression is a psychological illness, much like bulimia or anorexia. It affects the mind as much as it does the body. Depression is directly related to many other disabilities: eating disorders, low energy levels, and social difficulties. Scientists have found that depression is the result of imbalances in the way the brain metabolizes chemicals called neurotransmitters.

Neurotransmitters are substances that allow the brain cells to communicate with each other. Serotonin and norepinephrine are the two most common forms of neurotransmitters. Too little serotonin mat cause many symptoms of depression including irritability, sleep loss, and anxiety. Too little norepinephrine may be responsible for fatigue and a sense of hopelessness. A person’s genetic structure, environment, and personality are all factors that affect the balance of these chemicals.

Depression, at one time or another, affects every living human being. It affects children from the age of six to the elderly. It affects the low class poor to the high-class rich. Everyone is vulnerable to the destruction of depression.

Five percent of all adolescents and young adults, ages fifteen to

twenty-four, experience a serious level of depression. Women are generally the most commonly affected among young people. A depressed teen is more likely to get into various forms of trouble such as rebellion, truancy, academic problems, sexual promiscuity, and running away. The prevalence of depression among children and students with learning or behavior problems also tend to be higher than that of the general population. It affects the most popular students and the usually quiet ones. No student is totally free from the possibility of becoming depressed.

Depression comes in an extremely wide range of forms, some of which are: psychological (major) depression, clinical depression, and manic-depression (bipolar disorder). Each form of depression acts in it’s own way and has it’s own symptoms and treatments. Every type of depression, if left untreated, could lead to an attempted suicide or death.

The most common form of depression among young adults is psychological (major) depression, but it is also the easiest form of depression to treat. Psychological depression is commonly caused by some tragic or disturbing life experience and may last for a few months to many years. Nevertheless it should be caught early and treated.

Symptoms of this form of depression include:

a persistent sad or empty mood irritability or anger

alcohol or drug abuse loss of confidence

disturbed sleeping patterns restlessness

headaches or stomachaches agitation fatigue or loss of energy social withdrawal

feelings of helplessness guilt

large weight loss or gain excessive crying

difficulty concentrating or remembering poor self-esteem

and the most serious of all, thoughts of suicide

Most depressed individuals feel there is no way to end the misery and torture of depression other than by committing suicide. Depression is most commonly the sole cause for suicide among people today. It is the third largest killer among adolescents and younger adults. Since 1993 suicide rates among adolescents has been on a steady increased. Fifteen percent of all depressed cases will end in suicide. If depression victims do not get or attempt to seek help, chances are they may end up solving the problem themselves through suicide.

Many studies have been taken over recovering depression victims. Fortunately, none of them show any signs of side affects or scars to the personality as a result of an experience with depression. No signs of a loss in self-confidence or becoming socially withdrawn occurred within the case studies. Despite long periods of depression, patients continued to recover from major depressive problems.

Every type of depression can be treat with some form of medical help, wither it be medication or psychological treatment. Anything from talking to a friend to writing your feelings in a journal can be enough to get through some cases of depression. For major or serious cases of depression professional help is strongly advised. It is important that the student is informed of all the symptoms and causes of depression so that they can better understand the illness and aid in the treatment process themselves.

What can educators do to help depressed students? The primary role of all school personnel is to detect the signs of depression and potential suicide. If symptoms are suspected the teacher should make immediate referrals to the counselor of the school, notify parents, secure assistance from school and community resources, and assist as a member of the support team in follow-up activity after a suicide threat or attempt. Regular discussions with students should stress the individuals and agencies that are available to help students and the steps they can take in seeking help for themselves, friends, or their families.

Schools are recommended to provided suicidal students with programs that concentrate on individual assistance. An individualized education program (IEP) should be develop and include goals and objectives that emphasize support and encouragement rather than punishment. Alleviation of risk factors should also be included in the student’s IEP.


Bower, Bruce. “Depression Fails to Scar Personality.” Science News 9 November 1996: p. 294.

Guetzloe, Eleanor C. “Suicide and the Exceptional Child.” Council for Exceptional Children. Reston, VA.

Kist, Jay. “Dealing with Depression.” Current Health 2 January 1997: p. 25.

Redfield Jamison, Kay. Interview. “Depression.” Saturday Evening Post March/April 1996: p. 46-52.

Weinberg A. Warren, Harper R. Caryn, Emslie J. Graham, and Brumback A. Roger. ” Depression and Other Affective Illnesses as a Cause of School Failure in Learning Disabled Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults.” American Association of Suicidology. Washington, DC.

Zeiss Antonette M., Lewinsohn Peter M., Pohde Paul, and Seeley John R. “Relationship of Physical Disease and Functional Impairment to Depression.” Psychology December 1996: p. 572.


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