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Understanding the suicidal brain

  • C. Van Heeringen (a1) and A. Marušic (a2)
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Abstract
Copyright
Corresponding author
Professor C. Van Heeringen, University Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital, De Pintelaan 185, 9000 Gent, Belgium. Tel: +32 (0)9 240 4375; fax: +32 (0)9 240 4989; e-mail: cornelis.vanheeringen@rug.ac.be
References
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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: 0007-1250
  • EISSN: 1472-1465
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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Understanding the suicidal brain

  • C. Van Heeringen (a1) and A. Marušic (a2)
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eLetters

From the suicidal mind to the suicidal brain: Are these terms destigmatizing?

Dr.Naseem A. Qureshi
14 October 2003

Currently, the research on suicidology is at its peak. An array of factors including social, cultural, psychological, physical and neurobiological have been elucidated in understanding the phenomenology ofsuicide and parasuicide. But how the psychosociocultural factors influencethe dynamics of brain functioning involving particular areas, neurotransmitters and their receptors and transporters and vice-versa remains largely unexplored. But over the past decade, there has been muchresearch that has explored the neurobiological/neurocognitive mechanisms underlying suicide and attempted suicide. The editorial by Drs Van Heeringen and Marusic is evident of this fact.

But I have some concerns and reservations regarding the selectionof words like the suicidal mind (Schneidman 1996) and the suicidal brain (Heeringen & Marusic 2003). Probably now after AIDS, the psychiatric disorders and mentally ill patients are the most stigmatized globally. Calling an individual with suicidal attempts that he has a suicidal mind or brain is extremely painful to him and also to the immediate family members. Hence, such terms would further enhance stigma against mentally ill patients with suicidal behaviors. Furthermore, these words are liable to be abused because of easy and rapid access of information on internet to all the people around the world.

The better, nonstigmatizing and more humane serving phrase, in my opinion is "The brain and the suicide".

Declaration of interest: None

Reference

Schneidman ES. The Suicidal Mind.Oxford:Oxford University Press.

Van Heeringen C, Marusic A. Understanding the suicidal brainBr J Psychiatry 2003; 183: 282-284

Address:POX.2292, Buraidah Mental Health Hospital,Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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