Tag Archives: Teen Addiction

The Link Between Addiction, Depression, And Suicide

The Link Between Addiction, Depression, And Suicide

Suicide is a major issue in the United States, and one of the leading causes of death among young adults. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, suicide was the tenth leading cause of death in the United States overall and the second leading cause of death among people between the ages of 10 and 34 in 2016. Approximately 45,000 people died from suicide in 2016 within the United States. Certain risk factors exacerbate suicidal thoughts and ideation among young people – and depression and addiction are at the top of the list.

Major Risk Factors For Suicidal Ideation

Major Risk Factors When someone makes the decision to commit suicide, they do not do so at random. Years of trauma can contribute to suicidal ideation, as well as abusing drugs and alcohol. Feelings of extreme sadness, pain, and trauma often push a person to take this action, much to the grief of their friends and family. While many people may think about suicide throughout their lives, certain risk factors and occurrences can increase someone’s chance of committing suicide.

Substance abuse is a major risk factor for suicide, especially if the person is also experiencing other mental disorders such as:

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Other personality disorders

In addition, stressful life events can push someone into committing suicide. Poor social support, loneliness, isolation, and feelings of hopelessness also increase a person’s risk of suicide. In addition, a history of childhood abuse, chronic pain, and prior suicidal behavior are risk factors for suicidal ideation. Feelings of aggression and impulsivity can lead others to act upon their suicidal thoughts.

Substance abuse can seriously impact a person’s life, leading to the stressful life events and feelings of isolation and loneliness that can exacerbate suicidal ideation. Relationships can crumble and people who suffer from addiction can isolate themselves from other people in order to use drugs and alcohol. Addiction can also increase instances of aggression, impulsive decisions, and chronic pain. Many people use drugs and alcohol to cope from traumatizing events in their past – making them susceptible to suicide.

How To Identify Suicide Warning Signs

Suicidal ideation does not exist in a bubble, especially if someone you know is suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. Each person who experiences suicidal ideation will express their feelings in a different way. Some people may exhibit no warning signs at all, while others will show some of the classic signs of suicide.

However, if you notice that someone you love is exhibiting any of the following warning signs of suicide, you should not ignore them.

  • Exhibiting extremely anxious or agitated behavior
  • Using heavy amounts of alcohol and drugs
  • Avoiding social situations
  • Isolating themselves from friends and family
  • Not participating in hobbies and other activities that they previously enjoyed
  • Expressing a desire to die or an interest in death
  • Engaging in reckless, dangerous behavior
  • Engaging in self-deprecating and self-critical talk
  • Suffering from insomnia
  • Exhibiting extreme irritability
  • A sudden, sharp decrease in their work and academic performance
  • Suddenly giving away personal and sentimental belongings
  • Evidence of self-harm on their body, such as cuts or burn marks

How To Help Someone Who Is Addicted And Suicidal

Helping someone who is struggling from addiction, depression, and suicidal ideation is not an easy task. Offering to help them seek treatment may feel like an attack or confrontation, while leaving them alone could increase their feelings of isolation. The best way to approach someone who is suffering from suicidal ideation and addiction is in a calm, measured, and prepared manner.

Pay attention to the warning signs that make you think they may be thinking about suicide. What is different about their behavior, actions, and overall persona? Has there been a sudden change after a traumatic event, or have you seen them gradually get worse over time? Knowing the reasons why you want to help them will aid you in your approach.

Approach your loved one calmly and with a great deal of care. Tell them that you are there for them, and they can tell you about whatever is on their mind. When someone is struggling with suicidal thoughts and addiction, they can feel trapped in their own thoughts and fall away from reality. By expressing their thoughts and feelings to you, they can bring themselves closer to reality. In addition, knowing exactly what is on their mind can help you make better decisions on how to help them. Remind your loved one that their life matters, that you care about them, and you want to help.

Offer to help your loved one contact a professional and seek psychiatric treatment. They may refuse to seek treatment for a number of reasons, including guilt, shame, and embarrassment. If you believe they need treatment, contact the professionals on their behalf. Accompany your loved one to the hospital and any treatment programs they may attend, and spend time with them. By establishing yourself as a consistent presence in their life, you can become a source of strength and someone to rely on – which a person who is struggling with addiction and suicidal thoughts needs to survive.

Seek Help For Addiction Today

Although addiction and depression can exacerbate suicidal thoughts and actions, help is available. Certain protective factors can reduce suicidal ideation in people struggling from addiction, and the first step is to seek professional help through a drug and alcohol treatment program. The following factors can reduce suicidal ideation in young adults struggling with addiction:

  • Being clean and sober from drugs and alcohol
  • Attending regular substance abuse support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs
  • Receiving mental health care from a trusted counselor, therapist, or psychiatrist
  • Identifying reasons for living
  • Believing in a higher power and adopting spiritual beliefs
  • Having stable relationships and responsibilities, such as employment and parenthood

You can achieve many of these protective factors by attending a drug and alcohol treatment program. If you are struggling with addiction anywhere in the United States, you are not alone. This issue impacts millions of people across the country. Help is available to aid you in reducing your dependency on the substance, manage withdrawal symptoms, and begin the path to recovery.

Seek treatment at a professional drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility as soon as possible. For additional resources on managing addiction and recovery, visit Echo Recovery today.

Statistics on Homeless Families, Individuals, and Youth in Maryland

Statistics on Homeless Families, Individuals, and Youth in Maryland

Homelessness in Maryland is has been too high for over a decade, and state, local, public and private interests are looking to reducing homelessness numbers, and make housing available for those in need. The 2016 Annual Report on Homelessness gives the latest statistics on homelessness in the State of Maryland, and points toward a number of opportunities to both remedy and prevent some cases of homelessness in MD.

Homelessness is also a prime factor in substance abuse, with many of those that are addicted to drug s and alcohol at risk for becoming homeless, and those that are homeless are at greater risk of developing substance abuse issues.

ECHO Foundation advocates for more available housing in the State of Maryland; housing for those that are struggling to put a roof over their head, and for those that need housing while undergoing treatment for addiction and substance abuse.

Maryland Homeless Care Statistics


Maryland Homelessness Statistics

Maryland Homelessness Statistics
Maryland’s Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH) was established in 2014, in response to rising numbers in homelessness. The goal of the council is to examine initiatives statewide, and to recommend policy solutions to fight against homelessness in the state. ICH found the following statistics on homelessness in its recent (2016) report.

How Many Homeless Individuals are in Maryland

Finding the exact number of homeless in Maryland is difficult, as many who are experiencing homelessness are not counted in censuses. ICH has recently worked with statewide providers to get a better and more accurate count, however. The ICH 2016 Point In Time (PIT) count for homeless individuals totals 7,352 persons experiencing homelessness in Maryland.

Homeless service providers in Maryland offer a different number, however, and this number is called the “Annualized Number” of persons experiencing homelessness in MD. The annualized number represents anyone that received a number of services, including:

  • Emergency Shelter Services
  • Prevention Services
  • Outreach Support
  • Permanent Housing Placement

The annualized number of homeless utilizing the above services in the 2016 fiscal year was 29,670, more than 3 times the number of the PIT count.

Facts and Statistics about Homelessness and the Need for Housing in Maryland

  • The population of homeless in Maryland is (Sheltered = 6,594, Unsheltered = 1,798).
  • The number of unsheltered homeless in Maryland increased 6% from 2015 (27,764) to 2016 (29,670).
  • There are 4,749 shelter beds available for homeless people in Maryland
  • There are 2,953 beds for homeless individuals available in transitional housing units in Maryland.
  • There are 7,689 permanent shelter beds total in the state of Maryland for homeless individuals.
  • There are an estimated 217 homeless encampments in the state of Maryland.
  • Homeless numbers are estimated at 4,389 individuals and 2,556 families.
  • 61% of homeless peoples in Maryland are male.
  • 39% of homeless peoples in Maryland are female.
  • 05% of homeless peoples in Maryland self-identify as transgender.
  • 1,720 children under the age of 18 are homeless in Maryland.
  • 440 youth (between the ages of 18 and 24) are homeless in Maryland.
  • 5,210 adults (over the age of 24) are homeless in Maryland.
  • 58% of homeless individuals in Maryland are African American, while 34% are Caucasian. 8% state that their ethnicity is Latino or “other.”
  • Of the 422,282 military veterans in Maryland, 520 are homeless.
  • On average, 8.75% of veterans in Maryland are homeless.
  • 89% of homeless veterans in Maryland are sheltered, while 16% are unsheltered.
  • 474 individuals were identified as “Unaccompanied Youth” in 2016, between the ages of 18 and 24.
  • Estimates state that 10% of those that are homeless became homeless by fleeing domestic violence.
  • Estimates state that 1,029 homeless individuals have died from 2006 to 2016. With no real way to gauge these numbers, the true amount could be much higher.
  • Deaths in the homeless population have increased 54% from 2007 to 2016.
  • Deaths of homeless individuals in the month of January (when temperatures are at their coldest) have increased 26% since 2007.
  • Western Maryland (Garret, Allegany, Washington, Frederick, and Carroll Counties) had a homeless population of 3,462 in 2016.
  • Central Maryland (Montgomery, Howard, Anne Arundel, Prince George’s Counties and Baltimore) had a homeless population of 22,040 in 2016, the highest density of homeless population in the state.
  • Southern Maryland (Charles, Calvert, and St. Mary’s counties) had a homeless population of 1,329 in 2016.
  • Northern Maryland (Hartford and Cecil Counties) had a homeless population of 1,051 in 2016.
  • The Eastern Shore region of Maryland (Kent, Queen Anne’s, Talbot, Caroline, Dorchester, Wicomico, Somerset, and Worcester counties) had a homeless population of 1,788 in 2016.

Shortfalls in Providing Housing Assistance for Homeless Individuals in Maryland

  • The United States Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) estimates that there is a shortfall of about 190,743 affordable rental-housing units in the state. 92,446 for families earning less than 50% of area median income (AMI), and 98,297 for those earning less than 30% of AMI.
  • Average cost of one-bedroom housing in Maryland (fair market value) is $1,141 per month.
  • Maryland has only 34 affordable housing units per 100 households earning 30% AMI or less.

Advocacy for Available Housing in Maryland

Bradley Cooper Quote About SobrietyIn order to supplement available housing in Maryland for those affected by homelessness and substance abuse, the state needs to begin looking into new options. Maryland’s Interagency Council on Homelessness (ICH) is already beginning to look into options for addressing the housing crisis in Maryland, including looking to mimic what has been done with “Housing First,” a cost effective national best practice for reducing homelessness, in other states. The Housing First program has offered results in many other cities and states, including Salt Lake City and New Orleans.

While steps are being taken to ensure that there are adequate housing options available in Maryland for those that are homeless, at risk for homelessness, addicted to drugs and alcohol, or are at risk for addiction, there is still much more that needs to be done.

ECHO Recovery aims to help to provide housing to those that are in recovery from substance abuse and addiction, are at risk for substance abuse and addiction, and those that need transitional housing.

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Young Millennials Are More Depressed and At Risk for Addiction Than Ever - ECHO Recovery

Teens and Young Millennials Are More Depressed and At Risk for Addiction Than Ever

One Picture of Anxiety in Millennials

Seventeen-year-old Hannah Baker took her own life in her bathroom, leaving her distraught parents to find her lifeless body and wonder why. Hannah defined the why by making an audio diary on 13 cassette tapes and asking that they be circulated among those she holds responsible for her suicide in the Netflix show (and preceding novel) “13 Reasons Why.”

Hannah is a beautiful, smart girl with loving parents and a bright future. And yet, like so many of our teens in the U.S., she kills herself. The decline into anxiety and depression — terms used interchangeably by today’s teens — is a grading slope of despair.

Suicide doesn’t happen because of just one thing, one emotion, one event. Depression is a subtly dangerous illness that gradually takes over.

Though Hannah Baker’s story is fictional, the depth of pain from the epidemic of teen depression is all too real for many families today.

In fact, today’s teens and younger millennials are struggling with anxiety and depression more than any previous generation on record. Studies show millennials suffer from anxiety at a much higher rate than preceding generations. Subsequently, the suicide rate among adolescents in the U.S. is climbing more than ever.

Millennials and Depression

Suicidal tendencies are a marker of depression and anxiety. Much has been documented about millennials being delicate and having many worries despite having protective helicopter parents.

Studies do not provide a definitive answer as to why there is this continuing rise in depression in adolescents and young adults; however, mental health professionals speculate several factors contribute to the issue:

  • Many experts say teens are using more drugs and alcohol, which cause mood changes, anxiety and depression.
  • An electronically based society, with almost everyone owning a smartphone.
  • Growing up among so many school shootings.
  • Worry for one’s family finances.

Some professionals say we are raising our kids with unrealistic expectations and that having a kid-centered culture has shielded them from learning how to deal with the normal challenges of life. Raising our children with the idea they can do anything, meanwhile providing everything, fosters an era of entitlement.

Is Entitlement to Blame?

Modern society teaches young people that their possibilities are endless. However, the blessing of limitlessness brings with it the curse of too many choices, paralyzing the individual who has anxious tendencies.

In some cases, this kind of upbringing facilitates an entitlement attitude. This is a mindset of deserving everything without putting forth the effort to achieve it. As children grow into adolescents and young adults, thoughts of not being good enough to attain all that we expect of them and facing a life of making it on their own are overwhelming.

In many ways, there is more stress now than in previous generations. Stress triggers depression, anxiety and mood disorders.

During the difficult time of hormonal and brain changes during adolescence, most teens experience some symptoms of depression and anxiety from time to time. If a teenager is predisposed to mental health issues due to genetics, his or her risk of depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol issues increases.

Millennials: Depression Stats

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention routinely conducts the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) survey, which monitors unhealthy and risky behaviors among youth and young adults. Behaviors that indicate depression and/or suicidal ideation are included.

Here are some facts gathered by the YRBSS regarding anxiety and depression in adolescents and young adults:

  • Suicide is the second-leading cause of death in people aged 10 to 24 years old.
  • American students in grades 7 through 12 make an average of 5,240 suicide attempts per day.
  • More people die of suicide than homicide in the U.S.
  • Only 30 percent of depressed teens are getting treatment.
  • Suicide-related behavior among American teens has steadily increased from 2009 to 2017.

Another study conducted by Jean Twenge, Ph.D., professor of psychology at San Diego State University, shows that 5 times as many high school and college students deal with anxiety now than the same age group did during the Great Depression!

The Impact of Screen Time

Modern lifestyles – less family support, living with fewer people, less exercise, less outdoor sun exposure and more computer/phone time – play a huge role in changes from traditional values toward more mental health problems.

The impact of screen time on our youth contributes to anxiety in the following ways:

  • Social media encourages insecurities: Cyber bullying, slander, comparing oneself to others, and the feeling of needing to look perfect online all contribute to low self-esteem and insecurity.
  • When adolescents and young adults want to avoid the stress of real life, school or interactions with real people, they can easily escape into their smartphones.
  • It is a known fact that the use of electronic devices for more than 2 hours a day creates mild depression.

This is not an all-inclusive list, as much has been written about the effects of the use of electronic devices among young people.

Risks for Drug and Alcohol Abuse and Addiction

Millennials And Depression Statistic Before Adulthood - ECHO RecoveryBecause of the increased rates of depression and anxiety among today’s youth, our young people are more at risk of self-medicating and addiction than ever. More and more addiction treatment centers are offering programs focused on addressing anxiety in adolescents and young millennials to meet the needs of our current climate.

The pain of anxiety and depression in young adults drives many to self-medicate. It is difficult for someone suffering with depression to reach out for help. Millennials look to ease their pain any way they can, often turning to substances to make them feel better. At a young age, it is easy to find peers using drugs or getting alcohol underage.

For lack of better options or the embarrassment of coming forward to acknowledge their anxiety, adolescents that start using substances to relieve psychological pain can easily become addicted. Alcohol, illicit drugs and prescription drugs carry a high risk of abuse and addiction.

If someone with anxiety or depression develops an addiction, they will have what is called a dual diagnosis. These kind of cases requires specialized treatment for both issues.

Higher Risk Factors for Teen Depression

Some teens have higher-than-average risk factors for depression, addiction and suicide. In addition to a genetic predisposition as previously mentioned, some of these factors include:

  • Having a psychiatric illness without receiving adequate treatment — the highest risk for suicide
  • Being abused or neglected
  • Suffering from chronic illness
  • Family history of mental illness
  • Regularly consuming alcohol
  • Regularly using illicit or prescription drugs

Warning Signs and Symptoms

Do you worry that your teen or young adult child might be struggling with depression, anxiety or a related psychiatric disorder? Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish between what is normal moody behavior and when something is truly awry.

There are some warning signs and symptoms to look for in your child or loved one:

  • Sadness or hopelessness
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Low self-esteem or acting overly self-conscious
  • Eating disorder symptoms or not caring about appearance (lack of hygiene or changes in appearance)
  • Problems in school (lower grades, getting in trouble)
  • Scars, self-harm or cutting
  • Lack of interest in activities and alienating oneself from people
  • Interest in or talking about death

This is not a comprehensive list of warning signs. Anytime you have concerns about these symptoms or others, do not hesitate to ask questions. When it comes to mental health issues, drug and alcohol abuse or potential suicide, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Getting Help

Depression and anxiety are serious conditions. Threats of suicide should always be taken seriously.

If you need personally need help for depression or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or call 1-800-SUICIDE.