Depression Not Only Factor in Teen Suicides

Study finds other mental disorders, environment also play a role

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MONDAY, Oct. 24, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Depression isn't the only mental disorder that mental-health professionals need to watch for to prevent youth suicides.

That recommendation is based on a World Health Organization study that looked at which mental disorders may be linked to suicide in young people.

Researchers from New Zealand and Switzerland reviewed 894 cases of youth suicides worldwide, and found the majority (89 percent) of the young people in these suicides had at least one diagnosis of a mental disorder. Mood disorders were the most common (42 percent), followed by substance abuse-related disorders (40 percent), and disruptive disorders (20 percent).

Mood disorders include major and minor depression, bipolar disorder, hypomania, dysthymia and mania, while substance-related disorders include alcohol dependency/abuse and drug abuse. Disruptive disorders include attention-deficit disorder, conduct disorder, identity disorder and oppositional disorder.

The study authors suggested that comprehensive suicide-prevention strategies for young people should target mental disorders as a whole, and not focus solely on depression. Along with mental disorders, other factors have to be taken into account, such as a person's predisposition, social and environmental conditions, culture and psychosocial risk factors, the researchers said.

The study appears in the October issue of the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry.

More information

The U.S. Center for Mental Health Services outlines suicide warning signs.

SOURCE: American Psychological Association, news release, Oct. 23, 2005

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