This session will explore the tragic neglect and paucity of research on the high rates of suicide in adolescents. Suicide risk among today’s youth is overwhelming and poorly addressed, amounting to a public health crisis. Younger Americans are especially vulnerable. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2006 to 2016 the suicide rate for children aged 10 to 17 increased 70% among Caucasians and 77% among African Americans. In 2016 suicide was the second leading cause of death for individuals aged 10 to 34. Despite these dire statistics, this pressing issue is largely ignored by the integrative medicine community.
This session will discuss a genetic, biological, and psychosocial model for understanding and preventing suicide. Practical guidelines will be provided explaining how several risk factors for suicide, including sleep deprivation, malnutrition, trauma, medication use, and social media use, can be addressed.
Despite the potentially fatal consequences of depression, there is an increasing body of literature questioning the efficacy of antidepressants, especially among adolescents. Alarmingly, antidepressants may increase the risk of suicidal ideation in children and adolescents. Evidence-based interventions to enhance the efficacy of and minimize the side effects of antidepressants will be described.
Clinical trials have clearly established the relationship between nutritional deficiencies, mood disorders, and suicidal behaviors. In fact, omega-3 fatty acid supplementation has been shown to decrease symptoms of depression and decrease suicidal thinking by 45%! Nutrients and their overlooked influence on mental health will be discussed in detail.
Recent research has uncovered that sleep disturbances in young adults predict suicidal ideation independent of depression and substance use. Treatment of sleep disturbances are non-stigmatizing and may represent important steps in a therapeutic model to improve mood.
The goal of this session is to present a comprehensive, evidence-based model on the multifactorial risk factors for suicide in adolescents. Research illustrating the benefits of nutritional supplementation to enhance treatment outcomes will be discussed.
- Participants will be able to identify risk factors precipitating adolescent suicide.
- Participants will be able to describe the role of biological and environmental factors in suicide risk.
- Participants will be able to implement evidence-based integrative treatment strategies to enhance the effects of standard depression interventions.