Certain Suicidal Behaviors Differ for Early, Late Teens

But medicine ingestion is the most frequent method for all teens on antidepressant medication

MONDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Suicidal behavior among early and late adolescents prescribed antidepressants differs in terms of the methods used, history of abuse, and psychotic disorders, although for both groups the most frequent method is medication ingestion, according to a study published online Aug. 8 in Pediatrics.

Erik B. Hysinger, M.D., from the Vanderbilt School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn., and colleagues identified the circumstances and characteristics of suicidal behavior among early (between the ages of 10 and 14 years) and late (between the ages of 15 and 18) adolescents from a population of teens who were prescribed antidepressants. Medical data, including death certificates, were obtained from Tennessee Medicaid records for 250 randomly chosen confirmed episodes of suicidal behavior.

The investigators found that 65.6 percent of the 250 cases were female and 26.4 percent were between the ages of 10 and 14 years. The most frequent method of suicidal behavior for early and late adolescents was medication ingestion, although early adolescents were significantly more likely to use hanging than older teens. Nearly half of all the adolescents had previously attempted suicide. Early teens had an increased likelihood of having a past history of sexual abuse, and a decreased likelihood of having a history of substance abuse. Compared to older adolescents, early adolescents were significantly more likely to have a history of a psychotic disorder and to report hallucinations prior to the suicide attempt.

"This study suggests that, although there are many commonalities in early and late adolescent suicidal behavior, there are also potentially important differences," the authors write.

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