How We Discovered The Link Between Childhood Trauma, A Faulty Stress Response And Suicide Risk In Later Life
Daryl O'Connor, 12 Jan 18
       

Photographee.eu/Shutterstock.com

When people experience stress, the adrenal glands that sit on top of the kidneys release a steroid hormone called cortisol. However, our latest study shows that people who have experienced high levels of trauma in childhood, and who have attempted suicide, tend to release less cortisol when put under stress. These findings build on our earlier work that showed that the stress response system may be “faulty” or “damaged” in people who have recently tried to take their own life.

Every 40 seconds a person dies by suicide somewhere in the world, making suicide a global health issue. The causes of suicide are not well understood. For many years, researchers have been trying to uncover the risk factors for suicide in order to prevent deaths. Many biological, psychological and social factors have been identified, but there are also many gaps in understanding why people try to end their lives.

We looked at wh

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