Teen's Homicidal or Suicidal Tendency for Parents With History of Psychiatric Hospitalization

Teen's Homicidal or Suicidal Tendency for Parents With History of Psychiatric Ho

Adolescence is characterized by physiological, psychosocial, especially emotional, intellectual and spiritual development and maturation processes. Adolescent healthis,in part,determined by the family environment that provides for the basic needs of shelter,food, education, health care and moral and spiritual values necessary for character-building. Behaviour acquired in adolescence impacts health outcomes and lasts a lifetime.The heterogeneous nature of adolescents, their difficulty to access and fully utilize available health services and their vulnerability to morbidity and mortality are recognized.Their health and development problems include those related to reproductive health,risk taking behaviour and accidents, mental illness and communicable diseases.

A mental illness as defined in psychiatry and other mental health professions, is abnormal mental condition or disorder expressing symptoms that cause significant distress and/or dysfunction. This can involve cognitive, emotional, behavioral and interpersonal impairments.This is a condition in which there is delay or deficiency in all aspects of development, i.e. there is global and noticeable deficiency in the development of motor, cognitive, social, and language functions. This is the commonest form of developmental disability. In many ways, mental retardation is also representative of developmental disabilities in general, in its causation, nature, and care.

You find yourself in a situation that many people find themselves in. Family members are often the first to be affected by a loved one's illness and the last to recover — even after the person starts to get help.Although spouses and others most often want to be supportive of their loved ones' recovery, they may also experience a variety of conflicting feelings, including isolation, frustration, relief, worry and sadness. It's important to seek out others to share these experiences with in order to more clearly understand these feelings and what you can reasonably expect from yourself and others. Sometimes, family members may choose to enter therapy themselves to better cope with the changes at hand.

Mental illnesses affect the functioning and thinking processes of the individual, greatly diminishing his or her social role and productivity in the community. In addition, because mental illnesses are disabling and last for many years, they take a tremendous toll on the emotional and socio-economic capabilities of relatives who care for the patient, especially when the health system is unable to offer treatment and support at an early stage.

Children and young adults with a parent suffering from a serious mental illness may have an increased risk of dying by homicide or suicide, a large study suggests.

Now that you're a parent, you might not remember how it felt to be a teen, caught in that gray area between childhood and adulthood. Sure, it's a time of great possibility but it can also be a period of great confusion and anxiety. There's pressure to fit in socially, to perform academically, and to act responsibly.

Although suicide is relatively rare among children, the rate of suicide attempts and suicide deaths increases tremendously during adolescence. Suicide is the third-leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-olds, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), surpassed only by accidents and homicide.

In a study that included more than 1 million Danish children and young adults, researchers found a link between parents' history of psychiatric hospitalization and the risk of their child dying from unnatural causes.

Children younger than 15 were up to 10 times more likely than others their age to fall victim to homicide, while older teens and young adults had an increased risk of suicide.

The reasons are not fully clear, and more research is needed to answer that question, the study authors report in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Nonetheless, the current findings at least point up the "broader range of psychosocial problems" that can affect families in which a parent has a serious mental illness, according to study author Roger T. Webb, a research fellow at the University of Manchester in the UK.

At the same time, Webb stressed in comments to Reuters Health that the findings should not stigmatize parents with psychiatric disorders. Though their children had a relatively higher risk of homicide or suicide, he pointed out, only about 1 percent died of any cause during the study period.

The findings are based on information from Denmark's system of population registers. The researchers were able to track deaths and causes of death among nearly 1.4 million children and young adults born between 1973 and 1997, and link the information to records of psychiatric hospitalization among their parents.

They found that compared with other children younger than 15, those with a parent hospitalized for mental illness were 5 to 10 times more likely to die of homicide, depending on their age and which parent had the disorder. The highest risk was seen among preschool children whose father was hospitalized.

The researchers had no information on the perpetrator in these cases, and it would be wrong to assume that the parents themselves harmed the children, Webb said.

He and his colleagues speculate that these children might have been more likely to live in dangerous neighborhoods, for instance, or to be around other "potential perpetrators," such as relatives or friends of the family.

In contrast to the case with younger children, older teenagers and young adults were not at higher homicide risk, the study found. However, they were 2 to 3 times more likely to commit suicide than their peers whose parents had no history of psychiatric hospitalization.

"The elevated risk of suicide among young adults is likely to be partially explained by the early development of mental illness among offspring of mentally ill parents," Webb explained, though he noted that the study did not assess this specifically.

The findings could have a number of potential implications, according to Webb -- one being that family-based therapies should be further developed and offered to families affected by a parent's mental illness.

For some teens at risk of depression and substance abuse, talking about suicide may even reduce teens' symptoms of depression and thoughts of suicide. Most kids who commit or attempt suicide have given some type of warning to loved ones ahead of time. So as a parent, it's important that you are aware of some of the warning signs that your child may be suicidal, so that you can get your child the help that he or she needs.


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