Is There A Suicide Gene

Research Seems To Point To A Suicide Gene

It seems that there is a genetic grounding to every mental illness. These findings seem to be more than mere hypotheses and have enough research to warrant further studies on the genetic links between ADHD, OCD, Depression, Anxiety, Schizophrenia, Bipolar disorder and DNA. A recent discovery may have found a genetic link to suicide in connection with bipolar disorder. Is there a suicide gene?

Is there a suicide gene, scientists seem warranted in perusing these studies

This study has revealed that the same genes responsible for bipolar disorder which affects our thoughts might include suicidal thoughts. This isn’t too surprising since we know that other chemicals have been reported to give certain people suicidal thoughts; and chemicals and hormones play a substantial role our thought life. Our hormones, thyroid gland, neuro transmitters, and mental disorders all have a role in who we are and what we think, yet we are still accountable for what we do with these thoughts.

This article regarding “is there a suicide gene” was in the Psychiatric News May 20, 2011 and was written by Joan Arehart-Treichel.

The study seems to have found or isolated a gene that might be responsible for bipolar disorder and suicidal thoughts that sometimes accompany bipolar disorder. This article does acknowledge that the findings are very preliminary, yet warrant further investigation of the question – is there a suicide gene.

Some of the genes that might fit into this category are the serotonin transporter genes, the tryptophan hydroxylase genes, and hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis genes. The latest gene that has been identified as an independent contributor to suicidal behavior is called the ACP1 gene and is located on chromosome 2 in the region known as 2p25. The study that seems to insinuate the genetic link of suicidal behavior compared the genetic material consisted of 1,200 patients with bipolar disorder and a history of suicidal attempts and 1,500 patients with bipolar disorder without suicidal attempts. The results of the study did find the ACP1 gene in those with the suicidal history; and this gene was not present in the DNA of the other group. We might be getting closer to answering the question: Is there a suicide gene? If so this breakthrough would be an aid in developing medications for bipolar disorder and sort of a suicide prevention.

After this finding, the researchers went on to examine the brains of 14 individuals who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and died of suicide; and 20 brains of those diagnosed with bipolar disorder that had died from other causes. The expression of the ACP1 gene was significantly higher among the 14 individuals who had died of suicide.

Another contributing factor associated with this study is that the ACP1 gene influences a biological pathway that is regulated by lithium. Lithium’s ability to reduce suicidal thoughts has been well established within the psychiatric community. It is suggested that this ACP1 gene may increase compulsive-aggressive behavior that might increase the risk of suicidal thoughts.

Suicidal thoughts are not merely a genetic issue if indeed a genetic link is conclusively established. There is a distinction between correlation and causation and this is sometimes impossible to discern. We know that those with family histories of suicide have a higher risk of suicide themselves. Whether this is genetic link to suicide or a psychological issue probably cannot be studied because of the genetic biases and the attempt to draw a correlation between thoughts and genes would be skewed. On the other hand it does give pause to ask ourselves ‘why suicide does seem to run in families?’ None the less we know that if someone has a family member who has died from suicide they should be on guard against suicidal thoughts; and if they do have such thoughts to seek professional help. Science hasn’t yet answered the question is there a suicide gene, but seem to be getting closer. 

This article on is there a suicide gene is for informational purposes, inconclusive and not to be used in diagnosing or treating any mental illness.

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