Tag Archive for suicide

Increase in Suicide Rate Among Middle-aged Americans

Recently released research reveals that the suicide rate among middle-aged individuals living in the United States has increased dramatically in the last decade. 

A report released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that from 1999-2010 suicide rates among middle-aged individuals age 35-64 has increased by a whopping 28.4%.

These findings are consistent with a previously released study that revealed a significant increase in the overall suicide rate among middle-aged individuals, comparative to a small increase in rates among younger individuals, and a decline among older individuals.

The increases reported were geographically extensive, occurring in areas with high suicide rate levels, as well as areas with average and low suicide rate levels. A considerable change in the method of suicide is also noted in the study.  There was a dramatic increase in suicide rates by firearms, poisoning, and suffocation/hanging; with suffocation/hanging suicide rates increasing the most among individuals age 35-64.

The study suggests that the recent economic downturn is a possible contributing factor for the increase in suicide rates among middle-aged individuals, noting that historically higher suicide rates have been observed during periods of economic hardship.

Although the report does not explicate why exactly suicide rates among middle-aged individuals have increased. It does point out that most suicide prevention efforts have focused on youths and older adults, further highlighting the need and importance of suicide prevention efforts geared towards middle-aged individuals 35-64.

The authors describe some of these efforts as focusing on strategies that help middle-aged individuals overcome certain risk factors, such as economic challenges, job loss, health issues, substance abuse, and stress related to partner problems or caregiver responsibilities.


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Emily Roberts MA, LPC is the clinical therapist for the Neurogistics Children’s Program. She has worked with Neurogistics for over a decade. Emily is also an award-winning author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Becoming Who You Are, Psychotherapist, TV & Media Contributor, educational speaker and parenting consultant.  Express Yourself is available at bookstores nationwide and on Amazon. To learn more about Emily click here.




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The PTSD Brain

By Emily Roberts, MA, LPC

There has been a recent buzz in the media regarding Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Iraq veterans. Although anyone who has suffered from a trauma knows, PTSD has been around since the dawn of time (watching your caveman buddy get eaten by a Saber Tooth tiger).  However, it was not recognised by the American Psychological Association until the 1980′s. The media attention and those brave soldiers who speak out about suffering from the disorder, are allowing more soldiers to get help and making it let stigmatized to do so.  

The incidence of PTSD is on the rise as two wars drag on. In April, a Rand Corp. study concluded that 1 out of almost every 5 military service members on combat tours — about 300,000 so far — returns home with symptoms of PTSD or major depression. “Anyone who goes through multiple deployments is going to be affected,” says Dr. Matthew Friedman, director of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for PTSD. But nearly half of these cases, according to the Rand study, go untreated because of the stigma that the military and civil society attach to mental disorders.
This expert is from  TIME Magazine’s eye-opening article “How One Army Town Copes with Posttramatic Stress” by Tim McGirk. He talks about the rise in suicides and homicidal behavior due to untreated symptoms.  Colorado Springs, AKA Army Town, has the highest suicide rate in the country! This is not ironic, it is also the home to many soldiers who have just come back from war.
 Click Here to read the article in its entirety. 

Daniel Amen, M.D., author of Change Your Brain Change Your Life, who has made brain imagining through of SPECT scans available to the public, has hundreds of brain scans from PTSD brains.  There is a significant difference in looking at the scan, and for many out there seeing the effect trauma has on their brain, may be enough to get them to seek out therapeutic interventions.  His recent blog post follows an Army Snipers battle with PTSD and how changing his brain chemistry helped to relieve him of daunting symptoms http://www.huffingtonpost.com/daniel-amen-md/changing-the-brain-of-an_b_666631.html

The good news is that the brain CAN change, and PTSD symptoms can be reversible.  One has to be willing to seek out treatment for symptoms.  We know that brain chemistry imbalances are treatable through amino acid therapy, pharmacology, talk-therapy, and specialized approaches such as EMDR, EFT, and many others.  If you or someone you know is suffering from these symptoms share the articles listed, it may help normalize their experience and allow them to get well.

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