Blood Brothers includes content about mental illness and depression, poverty, and gun violence. More information about these topics and further educational resources can be found below.
Persistent Depressive Disorder Also known as dysthymia, persistent depressive disorder is a continuous, chronic form of depression. Those who experience persistent depressive disorder feel hopeless, lack productivity, find it difficult to engage in daily activities, and have low self-esteem and overwhelming feelings of inadequacy for periods of months or years. Although the exact cause of this disorder is unknown, major depressive disorders can result from more than one cause, those being biological changes to their brain, changes in the function of neurotransmitters and brain chemistry, or traumatic life events. Recent research also indicates that persistent depressive disorder appears to be more common in people who have a blood relative that also has the condition. For more detailed information on the symptoms and risk factors of persistent depressive disorder as well as resources and help seeking medical advice, visit https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/persistent-depressive-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20350929.
Antidepressant Discontinuation Syndrome Research indicates that antidepressants are not addictive. However, some people prescribed antidepressants may consider discontinuing the use of these medications. Antidepressant drugs do have a variety of potential side effects that patients find challenging or unacceptable. It is important to note that antidepressants should not be discontinued too quickly or all at once. Abrupt withdrawal can result in antidepressant discontinuation syndrome. Symptoms of this syndrome include sleep disturbances, gastrointestinal problems, numbness and other sensory reactions, dizziness, lethargy and headache, and anxiety and agitation. These reactions often emerge within the first week of abrupt discontinuation. Though rapidly stopping antidepressants is rarely fatal, it can cause physical discomfort and psychosocial impairment. The decision to discontinue antidepressants should be considered thoughtfully and made with the support of one’s physician or therapist. Medical professionals aim to ensure that stopping the medication prematurely does not risk a recurrence of depression. They can also help to mitigate discontinuation symptoms by safely and gradually tappering medication doses. To learn more about antidepressant use and discontinuation options, visit the following sites.
Relationship between poverty, gun violence, victimization, and incarceration The 2018 Federal Poverty Level (FPL) indicates that the following incomes qualify individuals and families as living in poverty.
$12,140 for individuals
$16,460 for a family of 2
$20,780 for a family of 3
$25,100 for a family of 4
$29,420 for a family of 5
$33,740 for a family of 6
14% of households are living at or below the poverty thresholds for this year. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the Office of Justice Programs, from 2008-2012
Persons in poor households at or below the FPL had more than double the rate of violent victimization as persons in high-income households
Persons in poor households had a higher rate of violence involving a firearm compared to persons above the FPL
The overall pattern of poor persons having the highest rates of violent victimization was consistent for both white and black people living below the FPL, while Hispanic and Latino folks living below the FPL had lower rates of violence compared to white and black people experience the similar economic circumstances.
In both the United States and globally, gun violence is strongly correlated with both poverty and inequality. A 2002 World Bank study found that inequality – including economic inequality - helped predict the difference in murder rates between states in the United States—as well as between countries. Suicides, which make up the majority of gun deaths in the U.S., increase in times of economic distress. Mark S. Kaplan, a professor of social welfare at the University of California, Los Angeles, draws a relationship between gun violence – both interpersonal and self-inflicted - to economic hardship and inequality. In a recent interview, Kaplan explains that “Violence is a more difficult social problem to tackle. It represents more than just the loss of lives: The economic toll on society is huge. How do we redress the various measures of inequality? The distribution of wealth and income, the issue of racially segregated communities, the under-resourced and underfunded social welfare infrastructure that seems to be taking a hit in the current administration—those are issues that also need to be addressed.” More information on Dr. Kaplan’s research can be found at https://luskin.ucla.edu/connection-poverty-inequality-firearm-violence/. Statistics and information on poverty in the United States is available at https://talkpoverty.org/poverty/. The World Bank study can be accessed at https://siteresources.worldbank.org/DEC/Resources/Crime%26Inequality.pdf.