Suicide - Is It Genetic

There is a recent discovery of a genetic link to suicide in patients with bipolar disorder. This ostensible link claims that there might be the same genetics involved with bipolar disorder that affects our thoughts and might give an individual a proclivity to suicidal ideations. this isn't too surprising since we know that other chemicals have been reported to give certain people suicidal thoughts and look at what chemicals do to young men? These chemicals that we call hormones cause a young adult mail to almost-unceasingly thing about women. These hormones are what make young men very aggressive. Many people have great difficulty considering the concept of a rational agent being driven by chemicals - yet we rational agents are greatly influenced by chemicals, drugs and hormones. As rational agents we have a responsibility to tame these thoughts and not to act on inappropriate behaviors that might be brought on by these chemicals. If someone wants to do a quick test with regards to the impact of chemicals and drugs on a rational agent, give a 21 year old male a six pack of beer and ask him if his thoughts and behaviors have changed at all LOL.

Geneticists is making some very interesting discoveries in genetic links between genetics and mental health. This article was in the Psychiatric News May 20, 2011 and was written by Joan Arehart-Treichel.

 The study seems to imply that there has been a gene that contributes to suicidal behavior that may have been found. If so, as with the goal of all genetic discoveries, there may be a preventative medication on the way. Also, this may open the door to further discoveries in the genetic grounding of bipolar disorder and suicidal behavior. This article is quite preliminary in its findings and it suggests that further investigations into its discoveries are warranted.

Some of the genes that might fit into this category are the serotonin transporter gene, the tryptophan hydroxylase genes, and hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis genes. The latest gene that has been identified as an independent contributor to suicidal behavior is called the ACP1 gene and is located on chromosome 2 in the region known as 2p25. The study that seems to intimate the genetic link of suicidal behavior compared the genetic material of 1,200 patients with bipolar disorder and a history of suicidal attempts and 1,500 patients with bipolar disorder without suicidal attempts. The results of the study did find the ACP1 gene in those with the suicidal history; and this gene was not present in the DNA of the other group.

After this finding, the researchers went on to examine the brains of 14 individuals who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and died of suicide; and 20 brains of those diagnosed with bipolar disorder that had died from other causes. The expression of the ACP1 gene was significantly higher among the 14 individuals who had died of suicide.

On very rare occasions some individuals have had side effects from medications that seem to cause suicidal thoughts. If this should ever happen anyone while they are on a new medication, whether it is a psychotropic drug or any other medication they should consult their practitioner immediately and consider going to the emergency room.

Another contributing factor associated with this study is that the ACP1 gene influences a biological pathway that is regulated by lithium. Lithium’s ability to reduce suicidal behavior has been well established within the psychiatric community from the research that has shown this to be true. It is supposed that this ACP1 gene may increase compulsive-aggressive behavior that might increase the risk of suicidal behavior. These conclusions have given enough evidence to peruse further studies on a genetic link to suicide.

Suicidal behavior is not merely a genetic issue if indeed a genetic link is conclusively established. We know that those who have family members that have committed suicide seem to have a higher risk of suicide themselves. Whether this is genetic link to suicide or a psychological issue probably cannot be studied because of the genetic biases and the attempt to draw a correlation between behaviors and genes would be skewed and beg the question. On the other hand it does give pause to ask ourselves ‘why suicide does seem to run in families?’ None the less we know that if someone has a family member who has died from suicide they should be on guard against suicidal thoughts; and if they do have such thoughts to seek professional help. The fact remains that families that have a member who has died from suicide seem to have a greater risk of suicide and for whatever reason - must understand this and view it as a red flag. In the meantime it appears that there is enough evidence to pursue studies of this sort and hopefully one day there will be some form of genetic engineering that will prevent any possible genetic cause of suicide along with other mental illnesses.

This article is for informational purposes only and not to be used for diagnosing, or treating a particular condition