A new study published in the online journal JAMA Psychiatry was conducted in order to find out whether or not those who attempt suicide at a young age are significantly more at risk for physical, social and psychological problems later on in life. The team decided that such a study was needed based on the fact that rates of suicide attempt rates have increased since the global recession began in 2007. Also the suicide attempt rate is much greater than the completed suicide rate. According to the CDC, there are 25 attempts to to every single completed suicide.
For the study, the researchers looked at a cohort of 91 young suicide attempters (defined as an attempt before the age of 24) and 946 nonattempters who had been subsequently followed for over 30 years. They separated out those who suffered from psychiatric disorders prior to the attempt.
What they discovered is that young people who attempt suicide are at risk for a number of difficulties as they approach middle age.
Compared to the nonattempters, those who did make a suicide attempt were more likely to suffer from the following mental health problems:
- Substance Abuse
- Subsequent suicide attempts or bodily self-harm
Additionally, they were more likely to take psychiatric meds and to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders.
In addition to an increased risk for mental health episodes, attempters were more likely to suffer from the following physical ailments:
- Metabolic Syndrome
- Elevated inflammation levels
- Cardiovascular disease
The “heart age” of the attempters was 4 years older than their chronological age; they were also more likely to have suffered from accidental injuries in the years following their initial attempt.
Attempters were more likely to engage in violent behavior; they were two times more likely to be abusive in their intimate relationships. More likely to need social support such as welfare, if they became unemployed at some point, they remained so six months longer than nonattempters.
Because of the wide range of afflictions that young attempters will face over the course of their lives, the researchers underscored the need to implement and provide quality, long term aftercare for those who attempt suicide at an early age. They also determined that such attempts can serve as a “warning signal” of things to come in later years.