Suicidal behavior has numerous and complex causes. The biology of the brain, genetics, psychological traits, and social forces all can contribute to suicide. Although people commonly attribute suicide to external circumstances—such as divorce, loss of a job, or failure in school—most experts believe these events are triggers rather than causes in themselves.
The majority of people who kill themselves suffer from depression that is often undiagnosed and untreated. Because depression so often underlies suicide, studying the causes of depression can help scientists understand the causes of suicide (see Depression: Causes). Other mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and anxiety disorders may also contribute to suicidal behavior.
Ernest Hemingway American author Ernest Hemingway suffered from bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness) and committed suicide at the age of 61, during a period of depression. The author’s father, brother, and a sister all committed suicide, and in 1996 Hemingway’s granddaughter, American actor and model Margaux Hemingway, also committed suicide. Scientific research on suicide suggests that genetic and biological factors play a role in suicidal behavior.Archive Photos
Research indicates that suicidal behavior runs in families, suggesting that genetic and biological factors play a role in one’s suicide risk. Among one community of Amish people in Pennsylvania, almost three-quarters of all suicides that occurred over a 100-year period were in just four families. Studies of twins reared apart provide some support for a genetic influence in suicide.
People may inherit a genetic predisposition to certain psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and alcoholism, that increase the risk of suicide. In addition, an inability to control impulsive and violent behavior may have biological roots. Research has found lower than normal levels of a substance associated with the brain chemical serotonin in people with impulsive aggressiveness
- Lie 23, 2019
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