Suicide, which is the eleventh leading cause of death, is a very serious subject. . Suicide rates have declined over the past ten years thanks to new depression treatments.
Suicide was among the 10 leading causes of death until 1998, when it was number 8 overall. Since that time, it has been surpassed by deaths due to Alzheimer disease and septicemia( blood poisoning). Preliminary data for 2003 placed suicide at number 11 overall, with a provisional age-adjusted rate of 10.5 per 100000, a 3.7% decline from the 2002 age-adjusted rate. However, it remains one of the 10 leading causes of death among individuals aged 10 to 64 years, and it ranks between second and fourth among those aged 10 to 45 years.
Every completed suicide is a successful attempt. There are 500,000 failed suicide attempts each year serious enough to warrant a visit to the emergency room. Researchers say that suicide is depression left untreated.
There are many cross currents is analyzing trends in suicide rates. There are indications that the trends are not uniform across age, gender, race/ethnicity, or rural/urban settings. For example, most of the increase in suicide rates among adolescents occurred between 1950 and 1980. Little of that increase is attributable to changing suicide rates among females, which have been more stable.[ Researchers found that the increase in adolescent male suicide completion during this period coincided with a significant increase in alcohol use.
The highest rates of suicide in the United States occur among older white men. Rates among White females and Black males and females peak during midlife. The US population has an increasing proportion of persons aged 85 years and older. If their rates were lower, that could account for declining rates among the 65-year-and-older age group, but the data for those aged 85 years and older show that their rates are higher compared with the 65-year-and-older age group as a whole. However, the decline in rates among the 85-year-and-older age group could be driving the decline in rates among the 65-year-and-older age group.
The implications of decreasing rather than increasing suicide rates are significant. If the conventional wisdom that suicide rates are increasing held, attention should be redirected from current strategies that are considered to be failing.
A broader discussion about trends in suicide rates and to encourage a more extensive investigation of the larger social, contextual, policy, and treatment trends that may be contributing to the decline in one of the major causes of preventable death. If scientists can understand what has contributed to the recent declines, they will be better able to develop and disseminate effective interventions for preventing suicide.
Charles Donovan was a patient in the FDA investigational trial of vagus nerve stimulation as a treatment for chronic or recurrent treatment-resistant depression. He was implanted with the vagus nerve stimulator in April of 2001. He chronicles his journey from the grips of depression thanks to vagus nerve stimulation therapy in his book:
Out of the Black Hole: The Patient's Guide to Vagus Nerve Stimulation and Depression
His all inclusive book prepares depression sufferers to make an informed decision about this ninety-minute out-patient procedure. It is a "must read" before you discuss this treatment with your psychiatrist. A prescription for the procedure is required from an M.D. and it is covered by most insurance plans. For more information on Vagus Nerve Stimulation, you can find his book, Out of the Black Hole, listed to the right.
He is the founder of the http://www.VagusNerveStimulation.com Web Site and Bulletin.
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