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Understanding Depression and its Causes and Treatments

Updated on May 4, 2012

Suicide Rates Per Age

Age of Victim
Fatalities Due to Suicide
Data Taken from CDC report see works cited below

Suicide Awareness and Prevention

The Problem

Suicide, intentional self-harm resulting in death, is one of the top five killers of people 10 to 54 (Corr & Corr, 2013). This epidemic is one of the worse trends currently affecting people today.

The Cause

The primary contributing factor is usually depression which The National Institute of Mental Health defines Severe Depression as:

Major depressive disorder, or major depression, is characterized by a combination of symptoms that interfere with a person's ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy once-pleasurable activities. Major depression is disabling and prevents a person from functioning normally. Some people may experience only a single episode within their lifetime, but more often a person may have multiple episodes. (NIMH, 2012)

Depression is real and it is deadly, it needs to be considered a disease like it truly is. This disease if left untreated is so terrible. Everyone suffers from the blues but severe depression can cause life challenging and possibly threatening problems if left untreated. In my article “Mentoring Can Save Lives” I placed an emphasis on the fact that what causes depression is unknown but many factors contribute to this mental illness such as biological differences, neurotransmitters, hormones, inherited traits, negative life events, and trauma. Some key factors for high risk people involve relatives with depression, being female, traumatic events during childhood, alcoholism, few personal relationships, recent birth (for mothers), serious illness, low self-esteem, and even finical and social status (Delfno III, 2011).

Depression should always be taken serious and help should be sought for those suffering from severe or lasting depression. When you think about the 30,000 people who take their lives annually it is a sobering reality (Suicide Prevention Lifeline).

Each day 88 people in the United States take their own lives, and most people can tell you of someone they have known who has done it (Sentilles, 2008). 88 on it’s own might not seem like a large number, or even the 30,000 but these are just the successful ones, each year approximately 2 million teens attempt suicide, that is over 2.5% of students making an attempt. This year alone approximately 2000 young women ages 10-19 will commit suicide (NAMI, 2011).

Recent government reports release in January 2012 shows an increase of suicide deaths to 37,793 almost a third higher than the normal average, obviously the poor economy is taking its toll on people (Murphy, Xu, & Kochanek, 2012).


The good news is that depression is very treatable. Medications and/or psychological counseling (psychotherapy) are extremely effective for most people.

Many people benefit from seeking assistance from a psychologist, minister, support group or counselor. It is key to realize that asking for help is not a sign of weakness or inability. Depression is an illness and should be treated like one, receiving assistance from a qualified individual. Like any illness self-medicating is not suggested, neither is trying to treat the condition with illicit drugs or alcohol. Alcohol and drug use often amplifies the depression and can lead to decisions that can be harmful to the patient, such as unprotected sex, risky life threatening behaviors, and etc.

In extreme cases, Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) has been successful but is usually only used as a last resort before admitting the patient in for permanent mental health care. Other less popular treatments include Vagus nerve stimulation and Trans cranial magnetic stimulation.

Works Cited

Corr, C. M., & Corr, D. M. (2013). Death & Dying / Life & Living. In C. A. Corr, & D. M. Corr, Death & Dying / Life & Living (pp. 361,407,443). Belmont: Wadswoth.

Delfno III, J. (2011, December 6). Mentoring Can Save Lives. Retrieved March 29, 2012, from Hubpages:

Murphy, S. L., Xu, J., & Kochanek, K. D. (2012). National Vital Statistics Report: Deaths Preliminary Data for 2010. Center of Disease Control.

NAMI. (2011). Mental Illnesses. Retrieved 4 30, 2012, from National Alliance on Mental Illness.

NIMH. (2012, March 02). Depression. Retrieved March 29, 2012, from The National Institue of Mental Health.

Sentilles, D. (2008, July 18). Idaho's Suicide Rate Tops Country. Idaho Mountain Express and Guide.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline. (n.d.). Retrieved 29 4, 2012


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