Teen Suicide Declines in 2005
January 24, 2008
Temporary 2004 increase clearly not linked to anti-depressant warnings
Just-released Centers for Disease Control figures for 2005 showing a drop in teen suicide are casting strong doubts on widespread alarms that a temporary rise in suicide by teenage girls in 2004 was caused by government warnings that curbed use of antidepressant medication.
In fact, population-adjusted suicide rates for girls ages 10-14 dropped by 29%, and for girls ages 15-19, by 14%, in 2005, the first full year in which anti-depressant medications were required to carry labels warning of possible adverse effects (ironically, including suicide) on young people prescribed them.
Since warning label restrictions did not take effect until October, 2004, the effect of any anti-depressant decline on teen suicide that year would have been doubtful in any case. Nevertheless, many press reports and commentators, often citing pharmaceutical industry sources, held that fewer teens using antidepressant drugs must have caused the 2004 suicide rise.
Suicide rates rose slightly for boys ages 10-14 and fell for boys ages 15-19 in 2005. Due to teenagers’ very low rates of suicide (particularly for girls), year-to-year fluctuations normal to small numbers are routine, even though they often generate considerable media and interest-group sensation.
Overall, suicide rate changes from 2004 to 2005 were: age 10-14 (down 4%), ages 15-19 (down 7%), and ages 20-24 (down 1%). Suicide rates rose moderately among adults ages 55 and older.
The government’s newly released figures for mortality in 2005 are available in detail at:http://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/mortrate10_sy.html
1999 – 2005, United States
Suicide Injury Deaths and Rates per 100,000
All Races, Both Sexes, Ages 10 to 19
ICD-10 Codes: X60-X84, Y87.0,*U03
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