Section 72
Chapter 71,351

Biological responses to acute stress and suicide: a review and opportunities for methodological innovation

Miller, A.B.; Eisenlohr-Moul, T.A.

Current Behavioral Neuroscience Reports 6: 141-150


ISSN/ISBN: 2196-2979
PMID: 33224711
DOI: 10.1007/s40473-019-00185-2
Accession: 071350492

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While rates of other medical illnesses have declined over the past several decades, rates of suicide have increased, particularly among adolescents. Prior research on biological underpinnings of suicide risk has remained limited. In this review, we describe a recent model conceptualizing suicide as a failure of biological responses to acute stress. According to this model, youth who fail to mount an adaptive stress response following exposure to a stressor are at acute risk for suicide. Although much more research is needed, early evidence suggests that abnormal biological responses to acute stress, such as altered autonomic nervous system activity and altered hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis function, may underlie risk for suicide, particularly during the transition to adolescence. Overall, initial evidence supports a link between biological responses to acute stress and suicide risk. However, future work that incorporates makers of other biological and environmental systems will sharpen our understanding of who is at suicide risk and when this risk is highest.

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