A new report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows a dramatic increase in suicides among middle-aged women, and experts are wondering what has caused the startling jump.

According to the report, women aged 50 and older showed a 49 percent increase in emergency room visits for drug-related suicide attempts. And, according to research that breaks down suicide rates between 1998 and 2007 by age, women between the ages of 40 and 69 were more at risk of killing themselves than women of any other age range. In 2007, they made up 60 percent of all female suicides.

Experts are speculating why this portion of the population has become so vulnerable to suicide, and many are pinpointing substance abuse, sleeping disorders and depression, as well as the sizable portion of the population in this age group (a la the baby boomers), as some of the reasons for the sudden spike.