The literal meaning of life is whatever you’re doing that prevents you from killing yourself” 

                              Albert Camus.

Suicide is considered to be the most terrible consequence of depression. Not everyone that commits or attempts suicide is depressed and it is seen that suicidal thoughts and actions are quite common in society. Statistics show that more people die from suicide than from homicide.

Among the reasons most often cited for attempting suicide are depression,lonliness, illness, marital problems, and financial difficulties. Women attempt suicide about three times more often than men do, but men succeed more often in killing themselves. This success is attributed to the methods chosen by men. 

Until recently, women leaned towards less lethal means such as wrist cutting and pill overdose. Men more often used firearms, hanging and carbon monoxide. Now more women are opting to go the firearm route, thus increasing their success.

Drug abuse and heavy drinking are other contributing factors in suicide attempts. When alcoholism occurs with depression, the risk of suicide is especially high. Alcohol lowers inhibitions, this encourages folks to partake in activities that are impulsive and even self destructive.

We innately experience this unbreakable sense of self preservation, so much so, that  it is extremely difficult to fathom the act of suicide. Many theories have been put forward to explain suicide risk and a great deal point to biological causes. There is evidence that it runs in families. The genetic link is more on depression and psychological disorders in the family. 

Other studies have linked suicide to low serotonin levels. Postmortem tests done on suicide victims have shown very low serotonin levels. It was also shown that those with low serotonin who attempted and survived were ten times more likely to attempt again.

 Low serotonin levels are linked to suicide even in people who are not depressed. This is an interesting finding since we can now connect low serotonin to highly aggressive and impulsive behaviour and violent suicides.

There has been a controversial theory and certain research has attributed suicide to low cholesterol levels. Death statistics show that people with low cholesterol levels either as a result of a low cholesterol diet, cholesterol lowering medication or just naturally low levels, have higher rates of suicide compared with persons with higher cholesterol levels.

 How can cholesterol be attached to suicide? It has been speculated that there is a link between serotonin and cholesterol and that lowering cholesterol lowers serotonin, which then increases violent , impulsive behaviour as well as suicide.

In an upcoming article we will discuss some treatment options for depression.

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