Age and Suicide: What I Think People Should Know

Each year, tens of thousands of people commit suicide all over the world. Statistics alone show that gender and age do have some effect on the suicide rate, but not completely.

Some people say that they feel age plays a role in suicide – that if a person is older, they are more mature and therefore less susceptible to being so distraught over something like a bad relationship or problem with a friend that they would take their own life.

In 2005, males ranging in age from 15 – 24 had a larger level then the female suicide rate for that age group. Elders aged 65 and older had even higher tendencies to commit suicide than someone in another age bracket.

It is my belief that Psychology is the biggest factor in suicide. Most people first think that someone has taken their own life because of something that was going on – maybe the person was having problems at home, or a recent breakup with their boyfriend or girlfriend. No one really stops to think that the person’s body systems had anything to do with it.

One of the most common factors of suicide is depression. People who have depression carry a high risk of suicide, and some people who have depression don’t even know it. This is where Psychology becomes a factor. Two of the most common hormones people hear about that play a part in depression are Norepinephrine and Serotonin. Higher levels of Norepinephrine can cause anxiety, but lover levels can cause depression. Low Serotonin levels can make things unpleasurable; even daily things like eating. Serotonin is the most well known hormone, and has been linked not only to aggression, violence, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), but also to depression and suicide.

As someone who has experienced a situation in which a friend committed suicide, and as a Psychology student, I can honestly say that I don’t believe age has anything to with suicide. I feel that the fact that something could be biologically wrong with someone should be most considered.

Often when someone takes their own life, people say things like “They were so happy, had so much ahead of them. I just don’t understand why they did it.” or “Why is everyone saying she committed suicide because her boyfriend cheated on her? She was more mature than that.”

Perhaps, the 23-year-old female that had so much going for her was depressed and had Serotonin levels that weren’t consistent, but she didn’t know. She took her own life because in that one moment, everything was wrong but she didn’t know why.

Psychological problems in someone are the one explanation for why both a 23-year-old and a 72-year-old might decide to commit suicide when everything was right in their lives.

“People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun’s out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light within,” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross said.

Dedicated to the memory of my dear friend, Roy Lopez.

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