<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

Contrary to popular belief, suicide rates peak during the springtime (April and May), not during the holiday season or winter. In fact, suicide rates are generally lowest during the winter months (Postolache et al., 2010).

Risk factors for suicide

Suicidal risk is especially high among people with substance abuse problems. Individuals with alcohol dependence are at 10 times greater risk for suicide than the general population (Wilcox, Conner,&Caine, 2004). The risk of suicidal behavior is especially high among those who have made a prior suicide attempt. Among those who attempt suicide, 16% make another attempt within a year and over 21% make another attempt within four years (Owens, Horrocks,&House, 2002). Suicidal individuals may be at high risk for terminating their life if they have a lethal means in which to act, such as a firearm in the home (Brent&Bridge, 2003). Withdrawal from social relationships, feeling as though one is a burden to others, and engaging in reckless and risk-taking behaviors may be precursors to suicidal behavior (Berman, 2009). A sense of entrapment or feeling unable to escape one’s miserable feelings or external circumstances (e.g., an abusive relationship with no perceived way out) predicts suicidal behavior (O’Connor, Smyth, Ferguson, Ryan,&Williams, 2013). Tragically, reports of suicides among adolescents following instances of cyberbullying have emerged in recent years. In one widely-publicized case a few years ago, Phoebe Prince, a 15-year-old Massachusetts high school student, committed suicide following incessant harassment and taunting from her classmates via texting and Facebook (McCabe, 2010).

Suicides can have a contagious effect on people. For example, another’s suicide, especially that of a family member, heightens one’s risk of suicide (Agerbo, Nordentoft,&Mortensen, 2002). Additionally, widely-publicized suicides tend to trigger copycat suicides in some individuals. One study examining suicide statistics in the United States from 1947–1967 found that the rates of suicide skyrocketed for the first month after a suicide story was printed on the front page of the New York Times (Phillips, 1974). Austrian researchers found a significant increase in the number of suicides by firearms in the three weeks following extensive reports in Austria’s largest newspaper of a celebrity suicide by gun (Etzersdorfer, Voracek,&Sonneck, 2004). A review of 42 studies concluded that media coverage of celebrity suicides is more than 14 times more likely to trigger copycat suicides than is coverage of non-celebrity suicides (Stack, 2000). This review also demonstrated that the medium of coverage is important: televised stories are considerably less likely to prompt a surge in suicides than are newspaper stories. Research suggests that a trend appears to be emerging whereby people use online social media to leave suicide notes, although it is not clear to what extent suicide notes on such media might induce copycat suicides (Ruder, Hatch, Ampanozi, Thali,&Fischer, 2011). Nevertheless, it is reasonable to conjecture that suicide notes left by individuals on social media may influence the decisions of other vulnerable people who encounter them (Luxton, June,&Fairall, 2012).

One possible contributing factor in suicide is brain chemistry. Contemporary neurological research shows that disturbances in the functioning of serotonin are linked to suicidal behavior (Pompili et al., 2010). Low levels of serotonin predict future suicide attempts and suicide completions, and low levels have been observed post-mortem among suicide victims (Mann, 2003). Serotonin dysfunction, as noted earlier, is also known to play an important role in depression; low levels of serotonin have also been linked to aggression and impulsivity (Stanley et al., 2000). The combination of these three characteristics constitutes a potential formula for suicide—especially violent suicide. A classic study conducted during the 1970s found that patients with major depressive disorder who had very low levels of serotonin attempted suicide more frequently and more violently than did patients with higher levels (Asberg, Thorén, Träskman, Bertilsson,&Ringberger, 1976; Mann, 2003).

Suicidal thoughts, plans, and even off-hand remarks (“I might kill myself this afternoon”) should always be taken extremely seriously. People who contemplate terminating their life need immediate help. Below are links to two excellent websites that contain resources (including hotlines) for people who are struggling with suicidal ideation, have loved ones who may be suicidal, or who have lost loved ones to suicide: http://www.afsp.org and http://suicidology.org.

Summary

Mood disorders are those in which the person experiences severe disturbances in mood and emotion. They include depressive disorders and bipolar and related disorders. Depressive disorders include major depressive disorder, which is characterized by episodes of profound sadness and loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities and other associated features, and persistent depressive disorder, which marked by a chronic state of sadness. Bipolar disorder is characterized by mood states that vacillate between sadness and euphoria; a diagnosis of bipolar disorder requires experiencing at least one manic episode, which is defined as a period of extreme euphoria, irritability, and increased activity. Mood disorders appear to have a genetic component, with genetic factors playing a more prominent role in bipolar disorder than in depression. Both biological and psychological factors are important in the development of depression. People who suffer from mental health problems, especially mood disorders, are at heightened risk for suicide.

Personal application question

Think of someone you know who seems to have a tendency to make negative, self-defeating explanations for negative life events. How might this tendency lead to future problems? What steps do you think could be taken to change this thinking style?

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

Questions & Answers

can anyone suggest me good coaching in Indore MP India for m.a entrance of du psychology
SAMKIT Reply
How can one diagnose a patient with a mental disorder such as schizophrenia?
Kutwal Reply
Making the Diagnosis. To get an official diagnosi of schizophrenia, your loved one has to show at least two of the following symptom most of the time for a month, and some mental disturbance over six months: Delusions (false beliefs that the person won't give up, even when they get proof that they'r
Khajiit
they're not ture)
Khajiit
Can sombody write me here about Pinoccio in psychodynamic perspective?
Amina Reply
what is the nature and nurture perspective of personality?
Khan Reply
are there significant differences between methamphetamine and it's long term effects on male cognitive behavioral and function versus female?
Shiloh Reply
effects will be the same( male & female)
Smith
tell me more
baby
no. it's much worse on females. almost s complete polar switch
cody
please is there any difference between abnormal behaviour and normal behaviour?
Ayodele Reply
hm
sheere
yes abnormal behavior is "not normal ", actions in society's eyes. an example of abnormal behavior (I remember from a textbook) ; a man who runs around frantically in a grocery store licking strangers'(women's) shoes because when he was a baby his mom would tickle his feet/give them special attentio
Peter
yes there is a difference between abnormal and normal behaviour... This is simply because abnormal behaviour is deviating from the normal behaviour of the society while normal behaviour is obeying the moral standards in the society.
Emmanuel
how about disorders? like, always having a tantrums and irrational most of the time?
Jheannalyn
a behavior becomes pathological when 1. there is a before and after : you can see a real change of behavior/cognition or 2. behavior is pathological when it makes yourself or others suffer
Perle
what is difference between disease and disorder
Shahab
disease demand medicin but disorder demands care plus medicin
Zeeshan
I think the concept of normal and abnormal behavior in general is not much of psychological concept but more of sociological concept. A behavior or act in itself is not normal or abnormal. How society perceives that specific behavior, that's what decides what's normal.
Juveriya
For instance, gay marriage is considered normal where homosexuality is legalized. Where it isn't legalized, its abnormal.
Juveriya
So there cannot be an absolute answer for your question
Juveriya
well abnormality is pretty much considered in popular society which is something of a correlation of psycholigical perspective reflected through activity... something abstract... or non trending or precedented. or maybe something disturbing or atypical for people in their respective birth cohorts.
Geoffrey
please what are the schools of thought in psychology
Jennifer
if I told a girl that I will marry her how will she takes it when am to rate it in percentages
dauda
structuralism,functionalism,gestaltalism etc
aijaz
what about Diathesis stress model ?
aijaz
What is the difference between motivation and goal?
vishal Reply
goal is what you want to accomplish. motivation is what drives you to achieve it
Tay
motivation is ambitious and a goal is a ambition
Alivia
But Motivation is just stay there for only short time
Manish
goal is our destination and motivation is a vehicle to reach goal
pradeep
motivation is the One person improved in self development another person advices......... goal is achievement at one of the life.....
thangaraj
motivation is for our personality development thing but goal is our whole personality.
Zeeshan
but its should be more remember without motivation no life no goal .
Zeeshan
it's like this
Tay
if my goal is to get my degree. then me wanting a better job is my motivation. ultimately family
Tay
Motivation is the vehicle we use to reach our goal.
Zachary
Please wat r the schools of psychology
Jennifer
i want the outline of it,its methodology
Jennifer
hi guys can someone help me how can I over or stress ?
Folet
Jennifer I need to take my own advice however stress relief is something that is done through catharsis which in my estimation is defined as a physical or mental activity used as therapy... that can include, yoga, meditation, sex, physical activity like a sport or martial art practice or sometimes .
Geoffrey
the schools of psych I have no clue about
Geoffrey
If you want to be something ,that we can say you have goal.But you will never be that without enough effort,if you getting accurate rewards from your surrounding as accepting you than before when you are trying to be something.that we can say motivation.it may be in the form of acceptance and suport
Hot
motiVation is the part of goal . but it has a backbone value for goal .with out motivation wo can not Think about our aim of life, our goals .
Zeeshan
how do you get motivation? I'm such a lax person
Alexsus
can anyone help me we have a school in a third world country the kids are unable to learn, how can we help them motivate?
Cesaire
make it a game , if it's a 3rd world country then personal hygiene supplies would be a good prize to win
Maria
Maria can you explain that a little more
Cesaire
make them a set goal of so many pages to read or assigments to accomplish and go buy soap, toothpaste and toothbrush or even Candy and put it in front of the class so everyone can see the prizes and it will motivate them to finish first to get an award
Maria
ok
Cesaire
ok Maria
Cesaire
what is mutation?
Amaya Reply
What is mindfulness
rahul
mindfulness means to be aware of the present
Agnieszka
meaning that you are totally focussing on the present...and living in the moment
Agnieszka
also present variables
Carl
hello guys
Folet
can someone help with few answers ?
Folet
hi what is all about ?
Folet Reply
The theory of evolution and its natural selection is a given trait by respond it is also classical conditioning it is a given trait that makes humans more unique than any other species of animals plants or an the theory o the Big Bang is a spontaneous person and has expanded ev we do not know that m
Ryan Reply
hi
Cesaire
hi
yugandhar
behaviors are most successful in treating what?
Cody Reply
mental health disorders
Joyce
Please guys am about to begin my project, I'd love suggestions on topics I can possibly take up.
Anigwe Reply
What are your guide lines
Sarah
Hi could anyone discuss self serving bias?
vishal Reply
what is self serving bias?
vishal
if you achieve something you are willing to take credit for that. If you don't achieve,you simply say it is because of external factors
Vamsi
I think simple and best example would be if we score good marks we say "I worked hard".If we don't get good marks we say "teacher didn't teach the lesson well".
Vamsi
is it universally applicable?
vishal
yes
Vamsi
kindly explain how
vishal
If I'm not wrong, universally applicable means something which applies to everyone in general. So if you mean to ask whether everyone has a self serving bias, then the answer is No. Because self defeating bias, which is exactly opposite of self serving bias also exists.
Juveriya
An individual can have either of these two biases
Juveriya
what does attribution means?
Vamsi Reply
I have the same doubt... As we can search for meaning... But not able to understand the concept
SNEHAL
yes
Vamsi
atttibution is a social cognitive function that allows us to give, to attribute, feelings of thoughts to somebody that's not ourself. for example I can say that my friend is feeling sad today for some reasons because I can consider that my friend is different than me. does it help ?
Perle
Thank you Perle.Can I get another example?
Vamsi
imagine you are walking in the street and you see someone smiling. you can think "oh this person looks happy"
Perle
basically it's the ability to understand that others are not you and they can have their own feelings or thoughts
Perle
Thank you so much.
Vamsi
wait wait. my last example is wrong. seeing someone smiling and think they're happy is the theory of mind, not attribution
Perle
Okay
Suman
Is this definition correct "basically it's the ability to understand that others are not you and they can have their own feelings or thoughts."
Vamsi
yup ☺
Perle
but social cognitive functions are tricky. theory of mind and attribution are quite close !
Perle
Then can you please give me another example.
Vamsi
two examples : someone always talks during a class, while others listen to the professor. the intern attribution that you can think of is : this person doesn't like school
Perle
now this time, all students talk during a class. the external attribution that you can think of is : the class is boring
Perle
attribution is nothing but just the process by which we human explain our behaviour
Agnieszka
like when I get good marks..i will attribute this to my performance and study
Agnieszka
Hi Perle could you help me with one question
vishal
Is Self serving bias universal in attribution process?
vishal
self serving bias is like the tendency to perceive ourselves in very righteous manner
Agnieszka
it's more on focussing on the need to maintain high self esteem
Agnieszka
the basics are clear I needed to know more on the universal applicability about the SSB (self serving bias)
vishal
vishal yup thats a good idea ...
ecstasy
please what arw the two main ways of controlling behaviour?
Gifty Reply
patience and meditation
ChandraKumar
any one ,what is bio psychological model
EXTRA
Bio psychological model means bio means body and psychological means mind so bio psychological model is studies mind and body relationships
Nilamani
daily prayers and daily affirmations and daily excercise
Alban
and what is health belief model?
EXTRA

Get the best Psychology course in your pocket!





Source:  OpenStax, Psychology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 03, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11629/1.5
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Psychology' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask