Abnormal Psychology Ch 9 (Suicide)

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Suicide
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-The intentional, direct, and conscious taking of one’s own life -Of people who contemplate suicide, up to 90 percent have a mental illness -Often undiagnosed
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Prevalence of Suicidal Behavior
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-About one million adults attempt suicide each year -One completed suicide for every 25 attempts -Suicide is third leading cause of death among college students -Actual suicide rate may be 25-30 higher percent than recorded because some deaths were deemed accidental
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Possible Reasons for Increase of Suicide in Children and Adolescents
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-bullying -copycat suicides -Decreased use of antidepressants within this age group
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Suicide Among Military Veterans
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-Increasing rate of suicides in the military: 349 deaths in 2012, more than the 295 combat-related deaths in Afghanistan during same period -Factors contributing to increased risk: Barriers to mental health care in the military, PTSD, Frequent separation from family, Loss of comrades
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Suicide Among College Students
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-Comprehensive study of suicidal ideation in students at over 70 colleges: More than 50 percent reported suicidal thoughts; 18 percent seriously considered attempting suicide (Among these, 90-92 percent had a specific plan) -Between 8 and 14 percent had made an attempt -Approximately 80 percent of students who die by suicide did not seek professional help -45 percent never tell anyone about their intentions -Some signs of suicidal risk: Verbalizing intentions, Withdrawal and depression, Giving away prized possessions
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Suicide Among the Elderly
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-Suicide rates for elderly men are the highest of any age group -Suicide likely to accompany depression -Factors for increased risk: Significant health issues, Loss of independence, Bereavement, serious financial and relationship problems
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Biological Dimension of Suicide
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-Suicide influenced by low serotonin levels in the brain -Genetics relationship is unclear
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Psychological Dimension of Suicide
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-Many have history of mental illness -Factors of particularly high risk: Depression, Bipolar disorder, Schizophrenia, Eating disorders, Some anxiety and personality disorders, Substance abuse
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Psychache
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-Intolerable pain created from an absence of joy -Strongly associated with suicidal ideation
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Alcohol-induced myopia
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Focusing thoughts on the negative aspects of personal situations
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Social Dimension of Suicide
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-Many suicides are interpersonal in nature: Occur following relationship conflicts -Disconnection from friends, family, religious institution, or community increases susceptibility to suicide -Factors in children who consider suicide: loss of significant parenting figure before age 12, Abuse, and unpredictable traumatic events
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Marital Status and Suicide
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-Stable marriage or relationship makes suicide less likely -For women, having children decreases suicide risk -People who are divorced, separated, or widowed have higher suicide rates than the married -Death of a spouse associated with 50 percent higher suicide rate for men
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Emile Durkheim’s sociocultural theory of suicide
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-Inability to integrate oneself into society -Lack of close ties deprives one of support systems necessary for adaptive functioning
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Sociocultural Dimension of Suicide
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-Modern technological society -Alienation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth
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Ethnic and Cultural Variables in Suicide
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-Highest rate of completed suicides: American Indian/Alaska Native, European American males -Lower rates: African American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American/Pacific Islander -Social change and disorganization may be a contributing factor
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Gender and Suicide
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-Females have higher rates of suicidal thoughts and attempts -Death from suicide occurs much more frequently among males (79 percent of all U.S. suicides) -Males tend to choose most lethal methods -Drug overdose/poisoning most common means for women
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Socioeconomic Stressors of Suicide
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-During recession that began in 2008, U.S. suicides increased by 1,580 from 2008-2010 -During Greece’s economic challenges, Suicide rate increased by more than 60 percent -Risk factors: Unemployment, Bankruptcy
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Religious Affiliation and Suicide
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-Suicide rate is lower in countries where the Catholic Church has a strong influence -Islam also condemns suicide -Where religious sanctions against suicide are weak or absent, higher suicide rates are observed
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Preventing Suicide
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-Early detection and successful intervention (Understanding risk and protective factors) -Paths to intervention: Self-referrals or referrals from concerned family or friends, Gatekeeper training (Designated people within a system learn about risk factors and screening methods)
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Working with a Potentially Suicidal Individual
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Three-step process: Know which factors increase likelihood of suicide, Determine probability that person will act on suicide wish (high, moderate, or low), Implement appropriate actions
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Clues to Suicidal Intent
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-Previous suicide attempts -Having suicidal ideation or a suicide plan -Verbal communications of intent -Withdrawal, restlessness, changes in sleep patterns -Saying goodbye and putting affairs in order
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\”No-harm\” agreement
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-Written agreement between a suicidal person and therapist or person involved in crisis intervention -Lack of research supporting effectiveness
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Psychotherapy for Suicidal Individuals
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-Treatment often involves both medication and psychotherapy -CBT and DBT proven to reduce suicide risk by 50 percent compared to other forms of therapy -CBT focuses on vulnerabilities -DBT focuses on helping clients accept current lives and emotional anguish

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