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... the sick people, self-immolation done by wives after their husbands death, suicide committed by slaves after their masters death, etc. Suicides of that kind prevailed mostly in archaic communities. Atomic suicide.
This kind of suicide reveals in extreme forms of psychopathology the failure of egoistic motives, and it serves in its more theatrical forms as a kind of strategy for stimulating interest in those who desire uniqueness (Siebers, 1993). Atomic suicide predominantly occurs at times of social and political upheavals, economic crises, when an individual loses the ability to adapt to social changes, to meet new social requirements and, as a consequence, an individual breaks the bonds with society. When social hierarchy consistently undergoes changes, some individuals climb to the top of the world, whereas others collapse. Social equilibrium is disturbed, and, as a result, quantity of suicides increases. In such a way, weakening or lack of social regulation, irregular public activity lays at the heart of atomic suicide. Fatalistic suicide.
Fatalistic suicide is exact antithesis to atomic suicide. It occurs when the social group takes a strict control over the individual. The main reason of suicide is surplus of regulation. According to Durkheim, there are several regularities: the percentage of suicides committed in summer is higher than in winter, inhabitants of the northern regions commit suicides more often than those from the southern areas, urban citizens commit suicides more often than those of rural areas, males commit suicides more often than females, elder people more often than younger, divorced, widowed and people with no children commit suicides more often than married, militaries more often than people of non defense occupations, unemployed more often than employed, Protestants more often than Catholics, and rich and well-to-do people more often than the poor. Durkheim was one of the most influential scientists who examined the social motifs of suicide.
His ideas gave a powerful incentive to sociological studies of deviating behavior and facilitated further studies of conditions of the moral degradation resulting in suicide, moral and psychological disorganization and decline in the modern society. Psychoanalytical Approach There are many theories concerning the conditions that force people committing a suicide. Some of them consider that people make decisions to commit suicide because of biochemical imbalance (for example, depression lowers serotonin level in individuals and, in its turn, low serotonin level influences their behavior). However, the problem of suicide cannot be explained only from the biochemical point of view. It is located at the intersection of different spheres of human knowledge. The reasons that force a person to commit a suicide to a considerable degree depend on the situation.
Biochemical hypothesis is beneath all criticism as far as the search of biological and biochemical determinants of suicidal and deviating behavior is still at the early stage of development. In such a way, there are two main theoretical concepts of suicidal behavior: sociological approach based on Durkheim's studies and psychoanalytical approach based on Freud's explanations. Freud examined suicide as a special demonstration of external aggressive behavior as a distorted desire to kill somebody else. According to him, the reason of suicide in psychoanalytical concept should be interpreted as negative attitude of an individual to the environment. The defects and imperfections of environment (and, in particular, the defect and demerits of other people) provoke aggressive reactions. Freud called it a misplaced aggression.
Further, the aggression under the influence of the diseased superego change direction from external source of aggression to the internal one. In such a way, a person becomes the source of irritation and aggression himself. According to Freud, the suicide was a logical continuation of depressive or melancholic behavior. As well as a person, who suffered from depression, a person, who tried to commit a suicide, displayed loss of interest in the outside world, a painful dejection, and loss of ability to love. The suicidal demonstrated a lowering of the self-regarding feelings to a degree that finds utterance in self-reproaches and self-reviling, and culminates in a delusional expectation of punishment (Kushner, 1989). As a result, the suicide combines the subject and object of action.
It united the roles of a murderer and a victim, who are subdominant to each other. Psychoanalytical approach postulates the activity of a subject and examines the act of felony as a primary and initial event that demonstrates aggressive tendencies. Additionally, suicidal behavior (as well as neurotic reactions) is the result of collision of contradictory desires from direction of the death drive (Thanatos) and the diseased superego (social prohibitions and standards). If sociological approach examines suicide as a logical and regular reaction of a subject (individual) at his communication (interaction) with society (i.
e. society acts as necessary and initiating factor of a suicidal behavior), psychoanalytical approach, on contrary, places the emphasis on intrinsic activity of an individual and on intrinsic source of suicidal behavior. Further studies of suicidal behavior exhibited a tendency to merge intrinsic and external determinants of suicidal behavior. Further, Henry and Short (1954) proposed to examine a suicide within the bounds of the frustration aggression theory. They interpreted suicide as a method used by an individual to attack himself, because of his firm belief that he is guilty in his own problems. Henry and Short claimed that people who make the environment and external factors responsible for their own troubles, are not disposed to suicide.
Stengel and Cook put forward another theory. According to them, suicide is a cry for help. The cornerstone of their theory is the fact that suicidal attempt (especially when it ends us with failure and is not sincere) is the method used by anxious people to attract attention to their problems. Sometimes the attempt is committed to get the sympathy and support. However, the cry for help can be interpreted in two ways: on the one hand, as a hysteric reaction based on consistent feeling of lack of attention to the individual, and from the other hand, as external demonstration of the feeling of intrinsic imbalance and inability to overcome it.
Some psychoanalysts and scientists support cognitive theories of suicide. The theory of escape proposed by Roy F. Baumeister is one of the most popular. The scientists theory rests on assumption that suicide is predetermined to find a solution for vitally important problems (Baumeister, Roy F. , Muraven, Mark, 1997). Baumeister considers that suicide is a result of the specific cognitive destruction, subordinated to a desire to escape from reality by moving painful experiences away from the conscience. The theory of escape distinguishes six stages of pre-suicidal behavior (sudden collapse of the unrealistically high expectations because of collision with vital problems and difficulties; guilt, formation of negative image of the self, attempt to compare oneself to the high standards, the complex of negative emotions in result of such comparison, condition of cognitive destruction that is unable to satisfy the desire to escape from painful emotions, and, finally, suicide as the most effective way to escape from the problems).
In case each stage of pre-suicidal behavior ends by undesired negative event, the suicide occurs. Cognitive destruction is the cornerstone of the concept. It is interpreted as desire of an individual to escape from negative emotional experiences by means of psychological defense (i. e.
negation, ousting, etc), distortion of time space, refusal to set goals for future and positive problem solving. Suicide: Facts and Myths The vast majority of people have false conjectures concerning suicide. Unfortunately, these mistakes claimed many lives. The knowledge of facts and myths can prevent the tragedy: Myth: People, who speak about a suicide, simply want to attract somebody's attention.
Fact: People, who want to commit a suicide, first speak then act. Such people have a hard time and suffer mental anguish. No wonder they want to inform people, who are dear to them. Myth: A man, who wants to commit a suicide, never notifies in advance.
Fact: 8 out of 10 people try to warn about their intentions. Myth: People have a strain of a suicide in the family. It means that suicide is fatal and no one can prevent it. Fact: Suicide is not a hereditary trait; however, the individual can copy an auto aggressive behavior. Myth: People, who want to commit a suicide, are mentally defective. Fact: As a rule, potential suicides do not suffer from mental disorders.
Myth: People, who are prone to suicide, belong to a certain race, sex, financial position or age. Fact: Any person is able committing a suicide. Myth: In case a man decided to commit a suicide, no one can stop him. Fact: Suicide can be prevented.
The vast majority of people do not want to die. They want to escape from problems and pain. Myth: A person, who made an attempt, never repeats it. Fact: the vast majority of people, who were unable to commit a suicide from the first, did it for the second or for the third time. The majority of suicides learn the technique until they succeed. References: Baumeister, Roy F. , Muraven, Mark. (1997).
Suicide, Sex Terror, Paralysis and Other Pitfalls of Reductionist Self-Preservation Theory. Contributors: Roy F. Baumeister - author, M. Psychological Inquiry, 8 (1), 36. Donnelly, J. (Ed. ). (1998).
Suicide: Right or Wrong? Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books. Kushner, H. I. (1989).
Self-Destruction in the Promised Land: A Psycho cultural Biology of American Suicide. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. McIntosh, J. L. (2006, December 10). Year 2004.
Official Final Data on Suicide in the United States. Retrieved February 14, 2007, from The American Association of Suicidology: web Shneidman, E. (1998). Suicide on My Mind, Britannica on My Table. American Scholar, 67 (4), 93. Siebers, T. (1993). The Weather Effect: The Esthetics of Suicide.
Mosaic, 26 (1), 15.
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