When addressing the topics of depression, addiction, and teen suicide, it is imperative that our staff at LA Detox is thorough in the advice we give. We not only want to bring awareness to the increasing rate of teen suicide in the state of California, but we also want to provide information on how to hopefully help a loved one before it’s too late.
It is vital to realize that teen addiction and depression, among other factors, can fuel suicidal thoughts and actions. In this blog, we discuss the ways to recognize developing depression and addiction in teens. We also cover how to talk to teens about their thoughts and feelings and how to monitor their social media to look for possible signs.
Rising Rates and Influential Factors
In a recent California health report, teen suicide rates have risen 34% over the past three years. This statistic covers teens aged 15-19 and is 9% higher than the national average. It has also been deemed the #2 leading cause of death in teens across the country and is 4 times higher in males than females.
There are many factors that can influence someone to attempt or commit suicide. The most common often times being the development of a mental illness like depression. Depression causes negative thoughts toward oneself. If not managed properly with medication or therapy, these feelings can become too overwhelming to handle.
Another major factor of teen suicide in Calfornia is becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol to numb the pain of depression. Addiction in itself can be deadly, but it also further fuels the negativity that depression brings. This is what can cause suicidal thoughts and actions.
Although depression and addiction are both major factors, some other things that can influence teen suicides include:
- Family history of suicide or exposure to suicide
- Aggressive behavior
- Physical, mental, or sexual abuse
- Difficulties dealing with sexual orientation
- Physical illness or pain
- Disruption in family life or routines like divorce or loss
- Environmental factors
- Bullying or social isolation
- Changes in hormone balance
Warning Signs of Teen Suicide
The warning signs of suicide can sometimes be hard to notice or extremely obvious. It all depends on the personality of the teen struggling with these thoughts and feelings. This is a possible reason why teen suicides have gone up because family and friends aren’t addressing what’s really going on.
Some of the warning signs of California teen suicide can include:
- Extreme sadness or hopelessness
- Lack of energy towards daily life and increased irritability
- Giving away personal property
- Appetite change
- Disinterest in friends and activities they once loved
- Obsessiveness with death like putting it in artwork or writing
- Little to no performance in schoolwork
- Isolation or withdrawal from friends and family
- Development of insomnia or sleeping too much
Once one or multiple of these signs have been confirmed, it is time to start having the hard conversations that come along with suicidal thoughts and actions. Because we recognize how difficult this can be, our staff at LA Detox is here to help in whatever way we can.
Why Talking to Your Teen is Important
If you know your teen has experienced some of these factors, it is important to have an open conversation with them about any feelings they may be having. The easiest way to go about this is to ask them direct questions like, “Have you been having any suicidal thoughts or contemplated possibly hurting yourself?” This will leave no room for misunderstanding.
There are many instances when families of teens who have committed suicide didn’t “see it coming.” This was probably because they just assumed everything was okay instead of asking the hard questions. Even if you feel like you have a close relationship with your teen, checking up on them could be the deciding factor in saving their life.
Our staff at LA Detox realizes that these conversations are not always the easiest to have. This is why we offer our professional opinion and assistance when deciding how to go about talking to your teen.
Teen Addiction Relation to Suicide
Approximately 1 in 27 teens aged 12-17 will develop a substance abuse disorder. The reason this is so high is that teens are going through many changes, both mentally and physically during this period of their life. They also run the risk of being heavily influenced by those around them.
Teen addiction does not discriminate and can affect anyone of any race, gender, or age without warning. Addiction at this age not only comes with its own risks like permanent brain damage and possible overdose, but it can also cause suicidal thoughts and feelings. The way it affects males and females does not differ, but the type of drug and the amount in which it is used can greatly increase the risk of suicide.
Here at LA Detox, we have state of the art drug and alcohol detox programs that are available to your teen. We encourage you to reach out for more information if you believe an addiction disorder has occurred. This could prevent your teen from reaching the point of attempting suicide because of their addiction.
Cyberbullying and Depression
Not only is addiction a leading cause of teen suicide but so is mental illness. This can include disorders like anxiety, bipolar disorder, multiple personality disorder, and most commonly depression. Depression can be brought on by many factors, but cyberbullying is one of the most influential of all of them.
Cyberbullying is when someone uses technology to negatively talk about others.
This can be done on social media, video sites, and even through texting or chatrooms. It is assumed that 34% of all teens will experience some sort of cyberbullying throughout their middle school and high school years. Although both genders are targeted by cyberbullies, only 1 in 10 boys reported facing cyberbullying versus 1 in 4 girls.
Cyberbullying happens because teens don’t understand the power of the words and images they use to bring someone down. These can be commenting on body image, economic status, appearance, and sometimes even how someone talks. Although it is never innocently done, it is often because the person on the other end is also struggling with some of these things. This is a coping mechanism they use to give themselves power over a situation that they feel they can’t control.
How to Monitor This
Targets of cyberbullying have reported feeling unsafe while at school and using self-harm techniques to cope with this. They tend to isolate themselves from the student body because of these feelings, and this can further worsen the internal struggles they are facing. It has also been discovered that students who experience this type of bullying are 2 times more likely to commit suicide than other students.
To help prevent this, you can monitor your teen’s online presence. Set boundaries for their screen time and create passwords to prevent them from logging on without your approval. They may resent this at first, but explain to them it’s for their safety and mental wellbeing.
Treatments to Help Depression and Addiction
If you believe your teen is experiencing suicidal thoughts and feelings because of a mental disorder or addiction they have developed, it is time to seek help for them. We offer high-quality care and treatment options that can be designed to fit exactly what they need.
One program we highly recommend for teens struggling with addiction and mental illness at the same time is our dual-diagnosis program. In this program, they will be treated for both disorders simultaneously to cut down the amount of time spent in our facilities. This also allows them to develop coping techniques to use in the outside world once they have completed the program.
In our individual therapy sessions, we get to the root of where teen addiction or depression started. This could be anything from past trauma to environmental factors to physical or sexual abuse they may have faced. Once these underlying factors have surfaced, it gives our therapists a better understanding of what types of therapies they can use to help the teen overcome negative thoughts and feelings.
Another service we offer is our family therapy sessions. This allows you to sit in with your teen during their treatment and understand why their addiction or mental illness could have possibly occurred in the first place. Our therapists believe that family sessions create a stronger bond between the teen and their loved ones and lead to healthy support systems after treatment.
We Are Here for Your Teen
Recognizing teen addiction and depression is an essential part of preventing suicide. The internal struggles they are facing are too much to bear at their age, and we understand this. Our staff is equipped to handle any type of addiction, mental illness, or a combination of the two that your teen may be suffering from.
Teens in California struggling with suicidal thoughts and actions deserve to be heard. Don’t just let your teen become another number in a statistic. Contact us today, and our staff at LA Detox will give you the information you need to begin your teen’s recovery.