A new study finds an increased risk of suicide attempts in teens is associated with prescription drug abuse, Reuters reports. Teens who said they used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes at the start of the study were almost three times as likely to report a suicide attempt a year later.
Pediatricians should look for risk factors linked to teen suicide, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises. Risk factors include substance abuse, a history of physical or sexual abuse, mood disorders, being lesbian, gay or bisexual, and bullying, the group notes in new guidelines.
The shortage of child psychiatrists, which has been a problem for many years, is becoming worse at a time when the United States is facing an increase in depression and suicides among young people, experts tell NBC News.
Research suggests 50 percent or more of patients with psychiatric disorders abuse some type of drugs, including alcohol. Yet there are relatively few treatment programs that address addiction and mental health disorders together, according to John Tsuang, MD, Director of the Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.
The suicide rate in the United States rose 24 percent between 1999 and 2014, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The researchers say increasing drug use may be one of the contributing factors.