Suicide: The Final Solution? Essay, Research Paper
Suicide: The Final Solution?
Suicide, the act of intentionally killing oneself, has become an increasingly more common and serious issue among those who tend to experience problems psychologically dealing with hardships in life. ?Too often, as the daily news tells us, the search for answers to these challenges is complicated by problems outside teens? control, such as divorce, family alcoholism, domestic violence or even sexual abuse? (APA Online 1). For all of these reasons, suicide has become the ninth leading cause of death in the United States, with 31,204 casualties recorded in 1995. In the past suicide has been guarded as a black secret that was to be hidden from public knowledge by the families of those who lost a loved one to it. However, society?s view on suicide is currently changing, with much more attention being paid to the problem and those it is likely to affect. Frequently, suicide is the result of a failed attempt at regaining control of one?s life, to escape unbearable pain and suffering, or because they see themselves as the family scapegoat. For whatever reasons it is done, this act of self-destruction is quickly becoming a common alternative to coping with the hardships faced in everyday life.
Suicide surfaces at an even more alarming rate among people aged 15-24, with over 13 of every 100,000 of the population in this age group killing themselves in 1990. It is estimated by the experts that nearly 5,000 teenagers commit suicide every year, and males account for 4 times as many successful attempts than females although young women attempt to kill themselves four times as often as young men do. It is also believed by many experts that the actual number of suicides is two to three times higher than indicated by statistics. According to Ovetta Sampson, as teens become older, family relations grow strained and the children feel isolated. Even worse, due to the tendency of teens to be more impulsive than adults, many end their suffering with suicide. (Sampson 1).
The reasons for this are incredibly varied, ranging from those that are provoked by parents and peers to those that are caused by mental and psychological disorders. In a family environment suffering from abusive or divorced parents, even common problems can prove to be insuperable. Many teens in a situation similar to this feel that they have nowhere to turn and will frequently ?medicate? their pain with drugs and alcohol, or express themselves with acts of violence or self-destruction. The combination of a dysfunctional family life and the everyday issues that teens are forced to face everyday can often result in a chronic depression. ?The feelings of helplessness and worthlessness that can accompany it, along with disturbances in sleep or apetite [sic], can fuel a downward spiral of health and grades, further clouding perspective, making even thought seem intolerably difficult? (APA Online 1). Although everyone suffers from mood swings in which he or she occasionally feels sad, those who suffer from depression often experience these moods for over two weeks at a time. If this condition goes unnoticed or untreated, the victim could begin to take part in dangerous behavior, all to frequently culminating with an attempt of suicide, effectively ending all suffering. Bipolar disorder is another malady that causes individuals to choose the path leading to suicide. In this disease, the victim suffers from a chemical imbalance in his or her brain that causes him or her to oscillate between extreme moods of elation and severe depression. An even more horrifying aspect of teen-suicide is the triggering of ?clusters? within a community. In this type of occurrence, one suicide has the tendency to bring about multiple others that have the capability to decimate the school environment or commonwealth in which the initial act took place.
The symptoms of a person in danger of committing suicide are just as varied as the reasons they might possess for doing so. Recognizing the warning signs soon enough can make it possible to treat and prevent a potential catastrophe from occurring. Perhaps the most obvious hints towards problems such as these can be found in the phrases that the victim may use that he or she had not before. These clues can be in the form of lines including, but not limited to the following: ?I?d be better off dead,? ?I won?t be a problem for you much longer,? or ?Nothing matters; it?s no use.? These take root in the general feeling of hopelessness and rejection that the victims often feel. They are more vulnerable to having these feelings to a dangerous degree if they have experienced abuse, humiliation in front of family and friends, or have experienced family problems with drugs and alcohol. Occurrences such as parental separation or divorce can also be reasons to carefully watch the actions of the child who may be in danger. Perhaps the most bizarre aspect of these symptoms is that a depressed or suicidal teenager may not have experienced any of these.
The actions that a person goes through are also a major indication of potential problems he or she may be experiencing. A noticeably great increase in the consumption of large quantities of drugs and alcohol is a serious warning sign. Teenagers who are planning to commit suicide might ?clean house? by giving away favorite possessions and throwing things away. They may also become suddenly cheerful right after a period of depression due to the belief that they have ?found the solution? by deciding to end their lives. People who are experiencing these behaviors are at potentially high risk of taking suicidal actions to help themselves deal with the pain they are suffering.
A great percentage of suicides reportedly take place after the victim has experienced a humiliating or embarrassing incident that cause a great deal of turmoil in his or her life. This incident can greatly affect the person?s outlook on life altogether. Going through a time of great degradation greatly reduces the self-esteem, occasionally to the point of a deep depression. This depression can then regress to the chronic and dangerous melancholy that leads to suicidal tendencies. These upsetting incidents are usually classified into two major categories: personal and professional. In both classifications, the incident can be almost anything, depending upon the personality of the person.
Personally, these can include, but are not limited to the following: breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, divorce of the victim or the victim?s parents, a car accident or moving violation, or an incident involving friends. These are sometimes the most difficult to deal with because of the manner in which the affected feels others view him or her. It can initiate a feeling of paranoia and a constant uncomfortable disposition around people in general. It is this feeling of insecurity that can eventually induce suicidal tendencies.
The professional problems can be just as traumatic. These can be in both the work place for teenagers and college-age people and in the workplace for adults. Students can experience failure on a test or exam, the inability to perform to class standards on a project, disappointment in the fidelity of a teacher when being trusted with confidential information, or the incapacity to fully grasp a concept in a class. For adults on the jobsite, these can take the form of the loss of a promotion to a co-worker, a deduction in pay, a lay-off or termination, accusations of improper activities towards other employees, ridicule from other employees, or frequent reprimands by the employer.
The psychological aspects of suicidal and depressed individuals have just recently been studied in depth after being dismissed for years as normal teenage behavior. This has been so recent in fact, that until 20 years ago, the psychiatrists would have protested that children and teens did not have the mental capacity or maturity to suffer from such ?adult? afflictions as depression or bipolar disorder. Even more alarming is the erratic mood swings and strange behavior patterns that these teens exhibited were dismissed as normal teenage behavior. For example, teens completely isolating themselves from peers and relatives and prime athletes losing all interests in the sports at which they excelled was discharged as merely a phase that teens go through. ?Experts say myths about teen behavior and ignorance about teen mental health have combined to blind society to teen mental illness. Parents, convinced that moodiness, anti-social behavior and thoughts of suicide are par for the course for teen-agers, may overlook signs of serious mental illness. The delay could be deadly? (Sampson 1).
Experts agree that adolescence is a time of risk-taking in which teens crave privacy, and may indulge in not-so-smart behavior. However, there is a limit. Normal adolescents do not feel the need to end their lives through suicide, nor do they engage in frequent consumption of drugs and alcohol. They also do not have problems with the law, nor do they suffer from significant behavioral problems at school. Experts further agree that frequently the degradation of a minor disorder into a chronic depression or bipolar disorder and eventually suicide is largely the fault of the parents. Parents often do not want to see mental illness in their children, and thus they ignore the truly erratic and dangerous behavior.
Every day, psychiatric research is discovering more clues to the causes of depression and suicide. Studies have found that some of these causes may be more biological rather than physical or mental. Experts have determined that a percentage of people who suffer from clinical depression have altered levels of certain chemicals within the brain, which effectively causes the disposition of the individual to stray from that of people with normal levels of the substance. Other researchers have detected a reduced amount of serotonin, a crucial brain chemical, in aggressive and impulsive individuals who make violent suicide attempts. Another link to the suicidal tendencies of young people is family history. Here, the association might be the tendency of a juvenile to identify with the person closest to him or her, thus being more likely to repeat this individual?s actions. Yet another study suggests there may be a genetic link between suicides within the same family. Biological relatives of a suicidal person are six times more likely to attempt or succeed in suicide than are adoptive relatives of that person.
Individuals who suffer from suicidal tendencies or thoughts inherit these traits from difficulties in three primary areas of life: childhood issues including abuse and neglect, humiliating or embarrassing incidents both at work or school and in personal life, and from psychological disorders such as chronic depression and bipolar disorder. It is because of these that suicide has become such a major problem for so many individuals in today?s society. ?Suicide is the ninth leading cause of death in the US, with 31204 deaths recorded in 1995. This approximates to around one death every seventeen minutes. There are more suicides than homicides each year in the United States? (suicide @ rochford.org).
Individuals in danger of possibly committing suicide usually exhibit very peculiar symptoms that can tip off the inherent problems. Withdrawal or avoidance of social activities, loss of interest in activity or hobbies that were at one time enjoyed, sudden disposal or dispersion of favorite personal belongings, or statements pertaining to no longer having to worry about problems are only a few of the many characteristics that can be shown by a potentially suicidal person. Helping a person in this situation can be very difficult to do, especially because they seldom wish to speak to others about the trouble they are going through. However, reassuring the individual that he or she has someone they can talk to for help can provide a great deal of difference in their actions. A person who is willing to listen can be anyone including friends, parents, teachers, physicians, and guidance counselors. For those suffering from a clinical depression or a chemical imbalance, psychotherapy or the proper medication can help most victims of this type of condition with a 90% success rate. With these options available, suicide is a senseless tragedy that can be avoided with the proper help.
APA Online Public Information?Teen Suicide.
Sampson, Ovetta. ?Teen Depression: Adolescent Rebellion Helps Mask Mental Disorders.? The Gazette 13 October 2000
Suicide @ Rochford.org.