Understanding Suicide and Its Prevention
A Neuropsychological Approach
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Finally, a book that explains suicide using the latest research in suicidology. A must-read for mental health professionals and the survivors of suicide who want to understand why suicide happens. The material in this book should be incorporated into the curriculum of psychology and psychiatry because suicide is such a vital topic that is hardly covered in medical schools due to the lack of a coherent theory of the brain in general and suicide in particular. This is an important book for all professionals who deal with mental disorders in general and suicide in particular. It is the author’s fifth book where suicide is explained, not as a mysterious process, but as a natural consequence of the reactions of the brain under certain conditions when suffering mental disorders. The author begins with a brief summary of the statistics of the whos, the hows, and the wheres of suicide. This gives us a clear idea of the magnitude of the problem of suicide, of the cost, not only in lives, but of the emotional toll of the survivors, as well as the financial burdens on society as a whole. Then, as an important first step to understanding the medical community’s standard approaches to mental disease, he reviews briefly the current psychiatric terminology and the diagnostic tools concerning mental disorders. He presents the most accepted current theories and models of suicide. He explains what a psychiatric emergency is and what to expect if one ever encounters such a situation. And he explains how suicide risk assessment is currently done, along with other important considerations. He proceeds to explain in everyday language, where possible, his theory of how the brain works, beginning with a simple explanation of how neurons communicate with each other. Later he explains how the brain controls the body and how we see with the back of our heads, how memory systems become a logical extension or expansion of our sensory and motor systems. Awareness and attention are introduced, first as an evolutionary tool that aids the senses gather more information from the environment and, ultimately, as tools that aid in thinking, reasoning, and constructing our past, our lives, and our identities. But all this would mean nothing without the introduction of emotions and how the brain constructs contexts. He explains how emotions are an integral part of memories and how these are related to contexts, how, basically, the brain has created a very concise and compact filing memory system. A clear explanation of how emotions are triggered, regulated, and dissipated is next. These lead to a learned discussion of how these various systems can go haywire causing mental disorders. A brief, but perhaps new and revolutionary approach to these mental disorders is presented next, including Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Delirium, Dementia, and Other Amnestic Disorders, Manic Depression and Depression, and Schizophrenia. Ultimately, it becomes clear how, under certain conditions, these disorders can lead to suicide. The difference between attempters and completers is also explained. He then presents a suicide autopsy as an exercise to show how varied the opinions of experts in the field of suicidology are and compares it to his own theories and lets the reader decide for himself who is closer to the truth. The fallacy of many expert opinions of where research needs to go is presented. The book gives a few words of advice on various therapies and the rationality of their approaches and cautions against their limitations. The book devotes a chapter to suicide prevention in the military and how these efforts are bound to fail and another chapter on suicide prevention. The author makes important suggestions of how to prevent suicide and lessen suicide rates, particularly among the young. And lastly, a chapter is devoted to the specifics of grief for suicide survivors.
- Xlibris US, June 2010
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