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Indian Youth more suicide prone?

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source: http://blog.askiitians.com
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By Ila Garg

Suicides have lately become a great cause of worry. More and more children are seeing suicide as an easy escape route for their problems. Of late, the suicide rates have been on an alarming rise, especially among Indian youth.

According to a study conducted by WHO, every year about 8,00,000 people commit suicide worldwide. Among these 17% are Indian residents, mostly falling in the 15-29 age group. The reasons for these can be variable. However, the one thing that can be clearly observed is that the Indian youth is under pressure and the high expectations, peer pressure, falling grades, lack of job opportunities, workplace harassment, etc. can be the driving force towards the path of ending their lives.

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Akash Shukla, a print journalist from Lucknow says, “One must have the right to end something that they don’t like. They should have the right to reject life. Suicide is, in a way, liberation – a liberty from a screwed-up life that you never wanted but became yours, inadvertently. We all have a sense of responsibility towards ourselves. No matter how close someone is to you, no one can understand the deepest pain that a heart hides, except the self. That’s why a man is responsible for any choice he takes – either life or death.

The youth thus, fails to understand that suicide doesn’t end the pain, but simply passes it on to those you love. They are so blinded by their sorrow that they see suicide as the means to end it; not giving it a second thought.

source: http://blog.askiitians.com
source: http://blog.askiitians.com

“Suicide should be the end of extreme problems, but not every problem,” says an ardent blogger, Shwetabh Mathur.

If reports are to be believed, Indian youth residing abroad are most prone to committing suicides. A recent data reveals that majority of suicides in Fiji are among the children of Indian descent. The statistics are nearly same for Indians in Malaysia too, as quoted by the Asia-Pacific Psychiatry journal Indians account for about 40% suicide deaths in Malaysia.

Poisoning and hanging from the ceiling have emerged as the most used methods to commit suicide.

With the number of suicide cases increasing, the Minister for Education Mahendra Reddy has expressed his concern, “There needs to be an investigation… Everyone here is important – the parents, the school.”  In addition, he suggested that passing a law to cut down on volatile substances that may lead to death might help in bringing the suicide rate down among children.

Earlier, in 2003, the draft of Volatile Substance Abuse Decree could not proceed due to constitutional requirements. This draft, spearheaded by the national substance abuse advisory council, stated that the wholesalers and retailers who are found selling the banned products can be punished. Reddy believes that legalising this decree might help to some extent but still the question that remains is why the children are driven to commit suicide!

Social isolation has been found as one of the major reasons for committing suicides. A feeling of being the odd one out or not wanted in the peer group has also compelled some to become self-centered and a victim of depression. A prolonged case of depression then leads to suicide attempt.

“Suicide isn’t something natural. Unless one has conjured up a philosophical reason to die, the person is usually depressed, psychotic, severely impulsive, or is simply crying out for help and doesn’t really want to die. So, it’s almost always an avoidable step,” says Roshni Chakrabarty, who hails from Kolkata.

“We need to be more aware of the people around us in order to notice any behavioral changes and also give them the chance to reach out for the help they need,” she added.

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Social Isolation Can Lead to Increase in Stress

Researchers have found that long-term chronic isolation causes the build-up of a chemical in the brain, that increases stress, aggression, and fear.

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But, administration of a drug that chemically blocks NkB-specific receptors enabled the stressed mice to behave normally, eliminating the negative effects of social isolation.
Representational image. Wikimedia Commons

Researchers have found that long-term chronic isolation causes the build-up of a chemical in the brain, that increases stress, aggression, and fear.

The mice isolated for two weeks showed behavioral changes like increased aggressiveness towards unfamiliar mice, persistent fear, and hypersensitivity to threatening stimuli.

When encountering a threatening stimulus, mice that have been socially isolated remain frozen in place long after the threat has passed, whereas normal mice stop freezing soon after the threat is removed, the research said.

Although the study was done in mice, it has potential implications for understanding how chronic stress affects humans and has potential applications for treating mental health disorders, said lead author Moriel Zelikowsky, a postdoctoral scholar at the California Institute of Technology in the US.

social isolation
A new study suggests meditation can reduce stress and anxiety. VOA

Previous studies have determined that social isolation for two weeks in mice resulted in the upregulation of the signaling molecule neuropeptide, tachykinin 2 (Tac2)/neurokinin B (NkB) — a short protein molecule.

In the new study, published in the journal Cell, the team found that chronic isolation leads to an increase in Tac2 gene expression and the production of a neuropeptide called neurokinin B (NkB) throughout the brain.

But, administration of a drug that chemically blocks NkB-specific receptors enabled the stressed mice to behave normally, eliminating the negative effects of social isolation.

Also Read: Father’s Stress Linked To Kids’ Brain Development

On the other hand, artificially increasing Tac2 levels and activating the corresponding neurons in normal, animals led them to behave like isolated and stressed, the research showed.

Suppressing the Tac2 gene in certain different brain parts, increased fear behaviors, or aggression accordingly, implying that it must increase in different brain regions to produce the various effects of social isolation, the researchers said. (IANS)