Internet Use and Abuse in an Adolescent Population in Athens: Associations with Psychological Profile and Lifestyle of Users
INTRODUCTION: Suicide attempts in childhood and adolescence are a crucial issue that society should make every possible effort to solve.
OBJECTIVE: The goal was to correlate the problem of suicide attempts by children and adolescents with epidemiologic data concerning the kind of toxic substance used, the gender of the patient, and the timing of the suicide attempts.
METHODS: In a period of 6 months (May through October 2006), 3060 suicide attempts from all over the country were reported to the Poison Information Center at Panagiotis and Aglaia Kyriakou Children's Hospital, 513 (16.76%) of which concerned children. The epidemiologic data, the patient's clinical state, the amount of the toxic substance used, and the outcome were evaluated.
RESULTS: Five hundred thirteen incidents were studied (89.1% girls, 10.9% boys). The children's ages ranged between 10 and 18 years. Two percent of the incidents concerned children aged 10 to 12, 32.8% concerned children aged 13 to 15, and 65.2% concerned children aged 16 to 18. The majority of the drugs consumed were those with no need for a doctor's prescription (paracetamol: 38.6%; nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs: 21.2%; salicylates: 19.1%), whereas psychotropic drugs were involved in 18.9% of the intentional intoxications. Of the 513 patients, 8.6% were under treatment with psychotropic medicines. In addition, 6.6% had at least 1 previous suicide attempt. Of the patients, 20.6% had taken a highly toxic dose of substances. No deaths were reported.
CONCLUSIONS: Suicide attempts during childhood and adolescence remain a great problem. Immediate steps should be taken to decrease this number of attempts. Society, families, and the medical community should also make every possible effort to face this serious problem, which has an important social cost.
Submitted by Eleana Gioka
- Copyright © 2008 by the American Academy of Pediatrics