Genetic predisposition to trauma can increase likelihood of suicide

likelihood of suicide, bipolar disorder
© Neil Wraight

Scientists reveal that individuals with bipolar disorder, who are also genetically likely to have trauma, have an increased likelihood of suicide

A study by the University of Iowa looks at the genetic relationship between bipolar disorder patients and trauma, finding that those individuals who are exposed to trauma are at greater risk for suicide.

The mental health crisis looms in the wake of COVID-19, especially for those who were already vulnerable before the pandemic begun.

The research is spearheaded by Eric Monson, and Hilary Coon, from the University of Utah, in collaboration with Virginia Willour from the University of Iowa.

Professor Willour, psychiatry at the UI Carver College of Medicine, said: “There are many factors that go into increased risk for suicide – genetics is one of them. We want to understand what the risk factors are so we can move forward with better interventions and decrease the rates of suicide.

“This is not a job to us – it’s not even a career. This is a mission, to decrease suicide rates and do it in a way that brings relief to the patient as soon as possible.”

Ongoing research is “really critical”, says researcher

Monson commented: “Even though it does not provide a definitive answer, this work provides information that supports the idea that the risk factors for suicide attempt and suicide death may differ from one another.

“And ongoing research is going to be really critical to make sure we make the best use of valuable resources to prevent suicide.

“There have been decades of work that have gone into preparing this data. We would have no access to data of this caliber, of these numbers, if it weren’t for the efforts of collaboration. There have been hundreds of investigators, and thousands of individuals who have donated their time, their DNA samples – all of these different things to make this possible.”

Read the full study here.

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