Suicide Runs In Family (2019 Study) by N. Rahhal
Suicide Runs In Family (2019 Study)
Suicide may run in families that tend to suffer from mental illnesses, a new study finds.
The tenth leading cause of death in the US, 47,173 Americans died by suicide in 2017.
The new study, conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), suggests that families in which social anxiety is more common may also be at greater risk for suicide attempts.
The researchers believe that this knowledge could help doctors catch at-risk individuals who might otherwise slip between the cracks of prevention efforts.
…As best we can tell, mental illnesses are predicated on a perfect storm of genetic and environmental factors.
…The NIH recently discovered that major depression, bipolar disorder, autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and schizophrenia all share some genes that put some at higher risk of the disorders than others.
And some of these mental disorders can be predictors of suicide attempt and death risks, too.
They also tend to run in families.
To investigate whether suicide runs in families, researchers at the NIH conducted the largest study to-date interviewing family members of 119 adults and their families about their histories of mental illness and suicide attempts and deaths.
Prior research has shown links between various psychiatric disorders and suicidal tendencies, and psychiatric disorders themselves do tend to run in families.
But the new study uncovered new patterns common to members of the same families.
The researchers found that when suicide seemed to run in a family, so did feelings of social anxiety – a trend that hadn’t been established previously.
Links between the two were even more potent when family members also had a psychiatric disorder, most notably, bipolar disorder.
These parallel tendencies suggested to the scientists that ‘people with these traits could have greater reactivity to social loss or disruption.’
Because social anxiety is fueled by difficulty processing negative emotions, the finding suggests that both shared social conditioning and inherited brain functions may be at play in introducing suicide risks into a family.
Or, these family members could have shared an outsize amount of trauma and stress in their shared pasts – making them more vulnerable to suicidal ideation.
Family patterns are hardly a one-size-fits-all diagnostic tool, however, the researchers wrote.
On the other hand, their discovery suggested that including a finer analysis of family histories, personalities and experiences might help doctors catch individuals at-risk for suicide that otherwise would have slipped through the cracks.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
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