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A Closer Look At High Risk Youth It is important not to overreact to isolated incidents Young people will have problems and will learn at their own rate to struggle and deal with them But it is critical for parents and helping adults to be aware of the factors that put a youth at particular risk especially when stressful events begin to accumulate for these vulnerable individuals A good starting point for identifying and intervening with highly troubled and depressed young people is the careful study of suicidal adolescents Family history and biology can create a predisposition for dealing poorly with stress These factors make a person susceptible to depression and self-destructive behavior History of depression andor suicide in the family Alcoholism or drug use in the family Sexual or physical abuse patterns in the family Chronic illness in oneself or family Family or individual history of psychiatric disorders such as eating disorders schizophrenia manic-depressive disorder conduct disorders delinquency Death or serious loss in the family Learning disabilities or mentalphysical disabilities Absent or divorced parents inadequate bonding in adoptive families Family conflict poor parentchild relationships Personality traits especially when they change dramatically can signal serious trouble These traits include Impulsive behaviors obsessions and unreal fears Aggressive and antisocial behavior Withdrawal and isolation detachment Poor social skills resulting in feelings of humiliation poor self-worth blame and feeling ugly Over-achieving and extreme pressure to perform Problems with sleeping andor eating Psychological and social events contribute to the accumulation of problems and stressors Loss experience such as a death or suicide of a friend or family member broken romance loss of a close friendship or a family move Unmet personal or parental expectation such as failure to achieve a goal poor
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