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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?

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Questions & Answers

what are cluster A disease?
Saee Reply
because psychology is a natural science as well as a science. it's a interdisciplinary subject
Kamakshi Reply
yes absolutely we cabt out Psychology completely into science dur to its various measuring aspects
utkarsh
cannot* put*
utkarsh
Assess the relationship between heredity and environment in human development
Newman Reply
जिवन कक्षा विकासाच्या एकूण किती अवस्था आहेत
Digambar Reply
what happened Digambar?
sakshi
?
Reina
Is here anybody exactly awared about the medicine used for the schizophrenia?
Fazil
plz can i know if io psychology in demand ou it's better to continu in human resourses management?
Reina
there are many drugs used to alleviate the symptoms, but none are used for curing the disorder itself.
Rupert
Researchers believe that one important function of sleep is to facilitate learning and memory. How does knowing this help you in your college studies? What changes could you make to your study and sleep habits to maximize your mastery of the material covered in class?
whitecat Reply
Well, for starters, both are entirely different aspect for consideration. As a college student, having an adequate amount of sleep is relatively rare especially on instances where we are totally forced to stay all night (whether for studying or doing academic works).
Rupert
benefits of physcology
Irfan Reply
who define first physcology
Irfan
who define first physcology
Irfan
I think it was either Henry James Or William James are the father of psychology.
James
I haven't read the flash cards and memorized them sense 2015.
James
so iv forgotten some info and some has never left me . I'm very passionate about psychology.
James
I study medical psychology
John
the history of psychology usually traces back to ancient chinese practices. but modern times acknowledge Wilhelm Wundt as the first person to establish a school.of thought in psychology.
Rupert
huh
ANGELICA
is it wrong?
Rupert
please can i know what is the difference about io psychology and human resources managment and which is more in demand ?
Reina Reply
What is psychology
Tayyeba Reply
someone who can observe or understand a person's reactions.
Leanne
It is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes
Enos
Sarah is a 30 year old white female. Her occupation is part time chef. She is recently been divorced and has custody of her three children. She has extreme changes in her mood that began to appear in her 20’s but she never went to see a doctor about them. When family tries to talk to her about her u
Ere Reply
listen very carefully for red flags on both sides
Leanne
what does historical racism mean
Unasumming Reply
Means that racism was present in a group of peoples race in there past and maybe even now. Example is the Native Americans and African Americans also Asian people. Anyone of not caucasian resent. So people who are mixed races also experience rascism.
James
racism meaning I would believe is a negative impact on other separate cultures, causing some serious concerns to the human race.
Leanne
How do counsel someone that is kinda depressed, lonely and stuffs but the person is pushing you away with by saying stuffs you don't like? Your age mate
Ajayi Reply
let them figure themselves out met them come to you and listen more than speak
Jascelyn
don't take anything too personal someone who is depressed has more feelings other than being sad. I have been through it we dont alwaya mean the things we say. just give time and space but be there when they are ready.
Deanna
the person should be first dealt with very patience and understanding.......... person's trust should be won first to treat that kind of state if counsel is the priority..... don't rush small steps will lead to get successful results....... after the patient start trusting you conversate with them.
Amisha
OK..... Thank you very much It makes me look desperate for the person's attention Thanks tho
Ajayi
just let them know even if they aren't ready to tall right now, you will be here for them whenever they are.
Deanna
we need to wait till the stage comes when he/ she is ready at mental level to participate as he is the subject and the core of the part of that particular conscelling session
aaqib
A.Are they saying it in general manner or B.they are saying it cz they know something about you personally If it is A. then remember it's a part of counseling...even if you don't agree with their views..it is theirs.. so don't take it personally
PREETI
if it is B. tell them .. we are here to talk about them not you Also remember people takes time with things.. so it does get difficult at times.. but in counseling it's about them not you. And if it affecting you much .. see why is there .. and try to objective about it OR refer them to someone
PREETI
allow them time to always become comfortable by listening to all sorts of thoughts they all sound scattered but if you ,just let it go until their ready to ask for advice ,my thoughts of counciling would go for a few more sessions of them venting until they've had enough to feel they want geedback
Leanne
what is the trait in the given example?
Maya Reply
what's the given example?
SamieMike
my fat cock
Andrea
o.o u seem like u need to read this txt
SamieMike
learning to understand psychological effects of one's mind thoughts
Leanne
mental state and behavior
Mufakir Reply
Feared ,lethargic, self isolated...
Leanne
because psychology basic is observation asa well as science, so people might skeptical about these two but if we look into it people might notice that it's different because psychology is study about mind and science is study about many thing around us and it's not study about mind clearly.
Karona Reply
empirical method is the method of observation on object rather than do experiment .
Karona
ology is the study of theory .
Karona
psyche means soul as well as butterfly.
Karona
psychology is the the study of mind and behavior
Karona
this is where I'm a little sceptical. we learning psychology based on books. but we ourselves r also human. when we to encounter a real life situation how well can we act accordingly
Aileen
im curious more of myself then others
Aileen
psychology is the scientific study of mind and behavior. scientific mean it's based on observation and experiments. yeah we can observe behavior easily but can't read mind directly that's why we do observe behavior and apply test and therapies to study mind basically we behave according to our mind
Faiza
educates a humans thoughts to expand and explore more of how far a mind will go if allowed
Leanne
wilhelm wundt studied psychology for the purpose of
Rufai Reply
i dont know, all inknow is that he pioneered the practice of introspective and his school of thought aims to study behavior as structured elements
Rupert

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Source:  OpenStax, Psychology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 03, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11629/1.5
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