Abstract and Keywords
Suicide has a biological component. It is the result not only of the necessary biological vulnerability, but also of multiple factors that must converge to elicit the behavior. These factors are discussed in this chapter and include genetic and epigenetic mechanisms, as well as psychopathologic, environmental, and stressful considerations, such as exposure to early adversity. We present a mathematical model with suicide as the outcome. The equation is based on a conventional stress-diathesis model, but it underscores the complexity of suicide behavior. In addition to discussing the contributors to suicidal behavior, we incorporate in the model protective factors that can reduce the risk of suicide. Because of the anatomical abnormalities in the serotonergic system in the brain of people who have died by suicide, a combination of pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy may be most effective in preventing the behavior.
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