Suicide is an epidemic that has always plagued society. The option to take your own life rather than face the reality of living and the world is an option that many people take each year. 38,364 suicides were reported in 2010 alone (Facts and Figures, 2014). That number made suicide the 10th leading cause of death in the United States (Facts and Figures, 2014). The staggering number of people committing suicide made me wonder what kind of genetic predisposition some people may have to carry out such an act.
People who have relatives who have committed or who have attempted to commit suicide are 50% more likely to attempt suicide (Zai, 2012). There could be a simple explanation for this phenomenon, grief. However, the rate of suicide by people who have lost family to accidents or homicide is considerably less than the amount of suicides committed by those who lost a family member to suicide. This indicates that suicide may have genetic factors.
One factor that leads many people to suicide is depression. Depression is defined as “a mental disorder characterized by sustained depression of mood, anhedonia, sleep and appetite disturbances, and feelings of worthlessness, guilt, and hopelessness” (Definition: 'Major Depression'). Depression does seem like an obvious choice, however what may not be as obvious is the genetic link. Scientists have researched twins with and without depression to find out if there is a genetic link. The scientists used both identical (100% shared genes) and fraternal twins (50% shared genes) (Levinson, 2014).The result was that 40-50% of depression is genetic. The other cases of depression can be associated with physical or psychological factors. This also indicates that other cases are completely geneti...
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