From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
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|*''[[Straight to Hell: 20th Century Suicides]]''||*''[[Straight to Hell: 20th Century Suicides]]''|
|*''[[Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide]]''||*''[[Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide]]''|
|-||+||*[[Suicide in English Literature]]|
|+||*[[List of Suicides in fiction]]|
Revision as of 11:32, 4 August 2012
Suicide (Latin sui caedere, to kill oneself) is the act of intentionally taking one's own life. The term "suicide" can also be used to refer to a person who has killed himself or herself. Suicide may be caused by psychological factors such as the difficulty of coping with depression or other mental disorders. It may also stem from social and cultural pressures. Nearly a million people worldwide commit suicide annually. While completed suicides are higher in men, women have higher rates for suicide attempts. Elderly males have the highest suicide rate, although rates for young adults have been increasing in recent years.
Views toward suicide have varied in history and society. Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism generally condemn suicide as a dishonorable act and some countries have made it a crime to attempt to kill oneself. In some cultures committing suicide may be accepted under some circumstances, such as Japanese committing seppuku for honor, Islamic suicide attacks, or the self-immolation of Buddhist monks as a form of protest.
In relation to mental disorders
Studies show a high incidence of mental disorders in suicide victims at the time of their death with the total figure ranging from 98% to 87.3% with mood disorders and substance abuse being the two most common. A person diagnosed with schizophrenia may commit suicide for a number of reasons, including because of depression. Suicide among people suffering from bipolar disorder is often an impulse, which is due to the sufferer's extreme mood swings (one of the main symptoms of bipolar disorder), or also possibly an outcome of delusions occurring during an episode of mania or psychotic depression. Major depressive disorder is associated with a higher than average rate of suicide, especially in men.
"Suicide" has been observed in salmonella seeking to overcome competing bacteria by triggering an immune system response against them. Suicidal defences by workers are also noted in a Brazilian ant Forelius pusillus where a small group of ants leaves the security of the nest after sealing the entrance from the outside each evening.
Pea aphids, when threatened by a ladybug, can explode themselves, scattering and protecting their brethren and sometimes even killing the lady bug. Some species of termites have soldiers that explode, covering their enemies with sticky goo. There have been anecdotal reports of dogs, horses, and dolphins committing suicide, but with little conclusive evidence. There has been little scientific study of animal suicide.
- Suicide as an arts theme
- Assisted suicide
- Straight to Hell: 20th Century Suicides
- Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide
- Suicide in English Literature
- List of Suicides in fiction