The Many Causes
From Why People Die By Suicide, By Thomas Joiner, Ph.D., (Harvard University Press, 2007)
"At the moment of conception, a baby’s future is not fully plotted, but some of its general trajectories can be discerned. Genes influence neurobiology, including the serotonin system. Genes also influence personality traits like impulsivity, and this influence may occur mostly through genes’ impact on the serotonin systems. Genetics, neurobiology, and personality all interact in complex ways with an individual’s life experience. Early adverse experience, including childhood abuse and neglect, heightens the risk for later problems, especially in vulnerable people. One set of such problems is mental disorders, which, in addition to the agony and impairment they cause, clearly confer risk to suicidal behavior. Genes, neurobiology, impulsivity, childhood adversity, and mental disorders are interconnected strands that converge and can influence whether people acquire the ability for lethal self-injury, feel a burden on others, and fail to feel that they belong. This lethal endpoint is the culmination of processes started a conception and furthered, biologically and through experience, over a person’s lifetime" (p. 202).