The Underlying Causes of Suicide

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The Underlying Causes of Suicide

  1. 1. -Karl, Freud, Abraham They believe that suicide results from depression and anger at others that is redirected toward oneself.  Introjection Negative feelings >> intense anger against oneself>> depression - childhood loses (death of parent and divorce) – suicidal behaviors  Freud- Thanatos or “death instinct”  Suicide is thought to be an extreme expression of self hatred and self punishment (Campbell, 2010)
  2. 2.  Common forms of loss were death of the father and divorce or separation of the parents. Similarly, a study of 343 depressed individuals found that those who had felt rejected or neglected as children by their parents were more likely than other individuals to attempt suicide as adults (Ehnvall et al., 2008).  National suicide rates have been found to drop in times of war (Maris, 2001), when, one could argue, people are encouraged to direct their self-destructive energy against “the enemy.” In addition, in many parts of the world, societies with high rates of homicide tend to have low rates of suicide, and vice versa (Bills & Li, 2005)
  3. 3.  In addition, in many parts ofthe world, societies with high rates of homicide tend to have low rates of suicide, and vice versa (Bills & Li, 2005).  Although hostility is an important element in some suicides, several studies find that other emotional states are even more prevalent (Conner &Weisman, 2011; Castrogiovanniet al., 1998) >>Other psychodynamic theorists have also challenged his ideas over the years, yet themes of loss and self-directed aggression generally remain at the center of most psychodynamic explanations (King, 2003).
  4. 4. -Emile Durkheim (1897)  The probability of suicide is based on his relationship to his society.  According to Durkheim, the probability of suicide is determined by how attached a person is to such social groups as the family, religious institutions, and community. The more thoroughly a person belongs, the lower the risk of suicide. Conversely, people who have poor relationships with their society are at greater risk of killing themselves.  HisThree Categories of Suicide : Egoistic Suicide Altruistic Suicide Anomic Suicide
  5. 5.  Egoistic Suicide -committed by people over whom society has little or no control. -people who are isolated, alienated and non-religious. -act of a person who rejects the structures of a society.  Altruistic Suicide -are committed by people who are so well integrated into the social structure that they intentionally sacrifice their lives for its well-being.  Anomic Suicide -are those committed bypeople whose social environment fails to provide stable structures, such as family and religion, to support and give meaning to life. - anomie “without law” -leaves individuals without a sense of belonging.
  6. 6. In the service of others According to Durkheim, people who intentionally sacrifice their lives for others are committing altruistic suicide. Betsy Smith, a heart transplant recipient who was warned that she would probably die if she did not terminate her pregnancy, elected to have the baby and died giving birth.
  7. 7.  Durkheim argued that when societies go through periods of anomie, their suicide rates increase. Historical trends support this claim.  Periods of economic depression may bring about some degree of anomie in a country, and national suicide rates tend to rise during such times (Noh, 2009; Maris, 2001).  Periods of population change  A major change in an individual’s immediate surroundings, rather than general societal problems, can also lead to anomic suicide.
  8. 8.  Despite the influence of sociocultural theories such as Durkheim’s, these theories cannot by themselves explain why some people who experience particular societal pressures commit suicide while the majority do not. >> Durkheim himself concluded that the final explanation probably lies in the interaction between societal and individual factors.
  9. 9. - Biological researchers come up with findings that may suggest that genetic or biological factors contribute to suicidal behavior.  Family Pedigree  Twin Studies  Serotonin Level  Abnormal Activity on brain structures particularly serotonin rich areas of the brain.
  10. 10.  They repeatedly have found higher rates of suicide among the parents and close relatives of suicidal people than among those of nonsuicidal people (Roy, 2011; Bronisch & Lieb, 2008; Brent & Mann, 2003).  Studies of twins also have supported this view of suicide. In a famous study, researchers who studied twins born in Denmark between 1870 and 1920 located 19 identical pairs and 58 fraternal pairs in which at least one twin had committed suicide ( Juel-Nielsen &Videbech, 1970). In four of theidentical pairs the other twin also committed suicide(21 percent), while none of the other twinsamong the fraternal pairs had done so.
  11. 11.  The activity level of this neurotransmitter has often been found to be low in people who commit suicide.  Low serotonin activity helps produce aggressive feelings and impulsive behaviors  There is evidence of low serotonin activity even among suicidal individuals who have no history of depression(Mann & Currier, 2007).That is, low serotonin activity also seems to play a role in suicide separate from depression.
  12. 12.  Serotonin activity is lower in aggressive men than in nonaggressive men and that serotonin activity is often low in those who commit such aggressive acts as arson and murder (Oquendo et al., 2006, 2004; Stanley et al., 2000).  Depressed patients with particularly low serotonin activity try to commit suicide more often, use more lethal methods, and score higher in hostility and impulsivity on personality inventories than do depressed patients with relatively higher serotonin activity (Moberg et al., 2011; Oquendo et al., 2003).
  13. 13. Biological theorists believe that heightened feelings of aggression and impulsivity Produced by low serotonin activity, are Key factors in suicide. In 2007, professional wrestling champion Chris Benoit—here Receiving a body kick during a match—killed his wife and son and then hanged himself, a tragedy that seemed consistent with this theory. In addition, toxicology reports found Steroids and drugs known to help cause aggression and impulsivity, in Benoit’s body.
  14. 14.  Even in the absenceof a depressive disorder, however, people with low serotonin activity may develop suchaggressive feelings that they, too, are dangerous to themselves or to others. >>>Still other research indicates that low serotonin activity combined with key psychosocial factors (such as childhood traumas) may be the strongest suicide predictor of all (Moberg et al., 2011).

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