The pace of the increase was greater after 2006 and varied by age, race and ethnicity. For instance, female adolescents aged 10 to 14 had the greatest increase, with suicide rates rising 200 percent. Middle-aged males, ages 45 to 64, also had a steep increase of 43 percent during the study period.
What's Causing the Surge in Suicides?Multiple factors are likely to blame, and there are many theories about why suicide rates stopped decreasing and started climbing around 1999. Among them is the economic downturn, which left many out of jobs and lacking health care.
In particular, past research has found suicides related to job, financial, and legal problems were most common among individuals aged 40 to 64 years.3
Earlier puberty among adolescent girls may be another factor, as this is a period of significant changes in a girl's life. This is also the age when psychological disorders such as depression may emerge.
Another factor is the ongoing trend away from use of cocaine and crack in favor of heroin and prescription painkillers, which are associated with an increasing number of opioid deaths. Antidepressants may also be playing a roll.
Antidepressants Linked to Suicidal Thoughts and Behaviors in YouthWhat must be factored in is the likely possibility that these drugs (and others) are contributing to the suicide increase. There is increasing evidence that antidepressants intensify violent thoughts and behaviors, both suicidal and homicidal, especially among children.
And, since the late 1980s, there have been frequent reports of increased violent behavior, including homicides and suicides, among individuals taking antidepressant drugs.
Research published in Pharmacogenomics and Personalized Medicine even revealed that a genetic mutation in the CYP450 gene family may cause a metabolic disturbance resulting in uncontrollable violent impulses and behaviors, including suicide, in some individuals taking these drugs.5
So if you or your children are taking an antidepressant drug, it's important to be aware that suicidal thoughts may be a side effect. Further, antidepressants are not the only drugs to watch out for. Other medications linked to increased suicide risks include:
|✓ The stop-smoking drug Chantix||✓ Accutane, an acne drug|
|✓ Singulair, an allergy drug||✓ Certain epilepsy drugs|
|✓ Tamiflu, a flu drug||✓ Cholesterol-lowering drugs |