“What Neurobiology Can Tell Us About Suicide” – The Scientist

“The biochemical mechanisms in the brain underlying suicidal behavior are beginning to come to light, and researchers hope they could one day lead to better treatment and prevention strategies.” 

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Source: CDC, 2017 data © ISTOCK.COM, LOFTYSTYLE

by Catherine Offord

“The first time Kees van Heeringen met Valerie, the 16-year-old girl had just jumped from a bridge. It was the 1980s and van Heeringen was working as a trainee psychiatrist at the physical rehabilitation unit at Ghent University Hospital in Belgium. As he got to know Valerie, who’d lost both legs in the jump and spent several months at the hospital, he pieced together the events leading up to the moment the teenager tried to end her life, including stressful interactions with people around her and a steady accumulation of depression symptoms.

“Van Heeringen, who would later describe the experience in his 2018 book The Neuroscience of Suicidal Behavior, says Valerie’s story left a permanent impression on him. ‘I found it very difficult to understand,’ he tells The Scientist. He asked himself why anyone would do ‘such a horrible thing,’ he recalls. ‘It was the first stimulus for me to start studying suicidal behavior.’”

Continue reading this article at The Scientist.

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