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A group of scientists found brain patterns that may help predict people at risk of suicide.The scientists found neutral signatures to words, such as "death" and "trouble" in certain people but which are not found in others.The study used a computer program that can tell the difference between a person who attempted suicide, and a person who only thought about it.
"There really is a difference in the way (suicidal) people think about certain concepts," said Marcel Just, the D.O.Hebb professor of cognitive neuroscience at Carnegie Mellon University and an author of the paper.
In the study, about 34 young adults participants joined and a computer program was used to distinguish real suicidal people from people who simply thought about suicide.
"We're very bad at identifying which people who are presenting with risk are in fact going to go on and have a suicide attempt," said Lisa Pan, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and an author of the paper.
Pan recalled that one of her patients made a bold move about needing help.The patient had arrived at her office with a backpack and threatened to jump off a bridge with a backpack full of rocks if Pan didn't think he was at acute risk.
To determine the brain patterns of suicidal attempts, Just and Pan chose a list of words they thought might reveal the associated brain activity.They used "apathy," "death," "desperate," "fatal," "funeral," "hopeless," and "lifeless" as suicide-related words.Positive-related words meanwhile were "carefree," "praise," and "good." The scientists had the participants lie in a brain scanner and watch a computer screen.Each word was displayed on the screen and lasted for three seconds.Within three seconds, each participant was able to process the word while the scanner captured the brain activity.
The computer program was able to correctly identify 15 out of 17 suicidal participants and 16 out of 17 healthy controls.
Causes of Suicidal Attempts
There are three main categories that encompass the causes of suicidal thinking and tendency:
1.The main psychological causes of suicide risk include depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety problems, and personality disorders.2.The main environmental causes of suicide risk include loss of a significant person, exposure to suicidal behavior, and being a victim of bullying, harassment, or physical abuse.3.The main social causes of suicide risk include sexual discrimination, religious beliefs, lack of access to moral and emotional support, and a system that allows suicide as a solution to problems.
Suicide is one of the most common cause of death in the world.There is no particular reason why someone may commit suicide but, several factors can increase the risk of someone to do a suicide attempt.
- Previous attempts of suicide- Drug or alcohol abuse- Imprisonment- History of suicide in the family- Low job satisfaction- Subject or witness of abuse- Diagnosed with terminal illness, such as cancer or HIV- Feeling of isolation- Victim of bullying- Exposure to suicidal behavior
People at risk of suicide may display signs and symptoms such as hopelessness, loneliness, severe anxiety, feeling trapped, lack of reason to live, extreme mood swings, substance abuse, and the belief that suicide is an escape.However, some people may not display the obvious signs of suicidal behavior.Being observant and open to listening can lead to identifying those who are hiding suicidal thoughts.People with suicidal tendencies will talk about hopelessness and lack of reason to live, make a sudden decision to give away possessions, too little or too much sleep, significant weight gain or loss because of eating too much or eating too little, express rage or revenge, and avoid interaction with anyone.
Treatment for Suicidal Tendencies
The treatment for people at risk of suicidal attempts varies on the cause that provoked the suicidal behavior and thoughts.The most common treatment is psychotherapy that involves the verbal intervention of a therapist.Therapists usually use cognitive behavioral therapy on people at risk of suicidal behavior.CBT deals with the negative emotion delivered by life's events and offers methods on how to convert negative energy into positive actions.
In case psychotherapy is insufficient, prescribed medication may be used to reduce the symptoms.Psychiatrists can prescribe antidepressants, antipsychotic drugs, and anti-anxiety medications.Changes in lifestyle also help reduce the risk of suicidal thoughts.Avoiding substance abuse, regular exercises, and getting enough sleep are all beneficial to the person involved.
Five Countries with Highest Suicide Rate- Guyana has the highest suicide rate in the world with 44.2 out of 100,000 people.- About 28.9 out of 100,000 people in South Korea have suicidal tendencies.- Sri Lanka has a suicide rate of 28.8 out of 100,000 people.- Lithuania follows with 28.2 out of 100,000 people.- Suriname is next with 27.8 out of 100,000 people.
Five Countries with Lowest Suicide Rate- Saudi Arabia and Syria have the lowest suicide rate in the world with 0.4 out of 100,000 people.- Kuwait and Lebanon tied with a suicide rate of 0.9 out of 100,000.- Oman's suicide rate is 1 out of 100,000.