It is a well-kept secret that everyone wants to live forever, but in life, end is unfortunately inevitable and quite natural in old age. In young people, it is a tragic event that is often avoidable, unlike in the elderly where conditions such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and malignancies may cause enormous toll. Studies that have looked at the reasons and related factors have thrown up some interesting findings. The most powerful emphasis is the need to treat our health and social behavior preciously.
The first area that should astound anyone is the consistent link with a family history of such an event. In some families an individual is almost 50% more likely compared to those without such a history. How this phenomenon works is related to numerous factors, which may include; risk to diseases that are inherited and the fact that risky behavioral tendencies tend be copied from one’s environment.
Secondly, the concept of a death wish has been suggested as a relevant predisposing factor, but is there any logic to it? Adolescent involvement in risk behaviors predicts premature mortality years later. On the reverse side, adolescents’ perceived risk for early death predicted serious health outcomes, notably a diagnosis of HIV/AIDS in young adulthood. This has alerted health professional to insist on the need to include an adolescents’ perceived risk for early death in psychosocial assessments and interviews.
A third aspect that cannot be overemphasized is the contribution of motor vehicle accidents. In the United States, it is the second leading cause of death and largely avoidable. It is closely linked with driving under the influence of alcohol or other psychotropic substances drugs. In this regard, the individual who drinks and drives directly endanger himself, but relevantly he endangers others, fellow passengers and pedestrians. Enlightenment programs in schools and in the media, as well as competent law enforcement efforts have greatly reduced the risk of driving under the influence. It is now left for individuals to be more responsibility before disability is also an important consequence.
Suicide is often an underrated cause of premature death. In fact it is a leading cause of death in individuals less than 25 years. On a global scale, almost 3000 people commit suicide daily and for that number, 20 or more may attempt to end their lives. The factors are complex, but individual and community support is crucial. Childhood adversity and various life stresses are important factors. More importantly serious mental illnesses like depression and substance abuse heighten the risk for suicide. It is important to note that individuals who refrain from social interaction are significantly at risk.
Finally, closely related to suicide is homicide, the second leading cause of death for ages 10 to 24 in some countries and which decreases as one grows older. Over 80% maybe related to firearms. Because suicide and homicide share this aspect restricting access to them reduces incidence. For suicide, media reporting has been shown to prevents further suicides as well as improving awareness among everyone in other to odentify those at risk.
Borowsky IW, Ireland M, Resnick MD (2009). Health status and behavioral outcomes for youth who anticipate a high likelihood of early death. Pediatrics.
Mulye T, Park M, Nelson C, Adams S, Irwin C Jr., Brindis C (2009). Trends in Adolescent and Young Adult Health in the United States. Journal of Adolescent Health.