The Suicidal Process
"Suicide does not just occur. Experience has shown that it is more often the end result of a process that has developed over a period of time..." N.L. Farberow
Suicide is theoutcome of neurobiological and psychological breakdown. Becoming suicidal is a process that begins in severe stress and pain generated by a serious life crisis.
"Suicide is the end result of aprocess, not the process itself."J. Zubin (1974)
in A.T. Beck, H. Resnick, and D.J. Lettieri (Eds.) The Prediction of Suicide |
Stress and pain increase as the crisis, or the perception of it,worsens. As this happens, control and self-esteem deteriorate. Depression may be a cause or a side effect of the process.
Suicidality occurs when the stress induces psychological pain so unbearable thatdeath is seen as the only relief. Prior to this point the individual is at risk of becoming suicidal. Beyond it the individual is at risk of completing suicide. Becoming suicidal is a crisis thatcauses traumatic stress.
Ingrained beliefs and values may cause an individual to be stigmatized by their own suicidality. This leads to shame and guilt. These cause alienation from self and withdrawalfrom others, which are also drivers.
Suicidality entails changes in brain chemistry and physiology. Suicidal individuals manifest various chemical imbalances. Most notable is depleted serotonin, aneurotransmitter that inhibits self-harm. This is a neurological threshold and those near or beyond it must be treated with medications.
There is no choice. Suicidal individuals are beset by sufferingthat is distracting and disabling. Suicidality is a state of total pain which limits options to enduring or ending utter agony.
A New Theory of SuicideIn Why People Die by Suicide (Harvard UniversityPress, 2006)Thomas Joiner notes that two conditions must be present to overcome the instinct for self-preservation. The first is a desire to die caused by a lost sense of social belonging and the...
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