Abuse and Suicide Risk

According to Psych Central News, the risk of suicide attempts made later in life have much to do with the frequency and type of abuse that has taken place during childhood, and that risk is also influenced by the identity of the abuser.

sexual abuse by an immediate family member (such as a father, stepfather or brother) carried the greatest risk. Abuse perpetrated by an extended family member (uncle or cousin) carried an intermediate risk, while abuse by an unrelated individual (an acquaintance, romantic partner or stranger) carried a weaker risk.


The article continues to explain why certain types of abuse increase the risk of suicide ideation.

abuse by a father or stepfather is considered especially traumatic, possible because such abuse is more likely to occur in families with multiple problems and also because these families cannot provide safe and healing conditions following abuse.

Second, abuse by close family members may have long-term consequences on the development of health attachment patterns necessary for mental health.

I find this very interesting, since so many adoption specialists like to blame an adoptee's suicide mission a manifestation of bad genetics, linked to depression.  After all, why else would an adopted/fostered child want to commit suicide, unless the birth parents, (or their equally messed-up families) had a history with depression or suicide?

<rolling eyes>

Since most of us adult adoptees don't have access to our birth records or family histories, I'm curious how others see the drive to commit suicide.  Heredity or home environment, which is more likely to lead a person to the end of his/her rope?



Heredity or home environment...

Kerry wrote:
Since most of us adult adoptees don't have access to our birth records or family histories, I'm curious how others see the drive to commit suicide.  Heredity or home environment, which is more likely to lead a person to the end of his/her rope?

I believe that depends on the diagnosis.  For example, bipolar has a strong genetic link while PTSD has none.  Both are significant risk factors in adolescent suicide.  I would imagine a combination of both would be especially lethal.


Home environment.

In my personal case, I know that it was home environment but I didn't always knew that.

Few years ago, I was well-known in the psychiatric departmen. I was hospitalized about 5 times following suicide attempts. Nobody ever knew about the other 10 attempts. For every professionals, it was obvious that my depression was the result of heredity.  At one point, I also had been diagnosed with bipolar.  I took the lithiums for almost two years. Bipolar, it could only be hereditary.
There was one psy who believed that it was the home environement.  I thought he was not interested in treating me because he always sent me to his students while he was treating other patients. Even after the third attempt that nearly killed me,  he believed that my place was not at the hospital.
With "heredity", I could have stayed on all kinds of drugs for the rest of my life. But I didn't stay on the medication.

Today, I don't even take one sleeping pill. The only thing I needed was to talk about my adoption issues and to tell the secret.

I urge every adoptees to not keep their anger and their feelings for themselves. If you don't feel understood in your environment,  join an adoptee's group where youre feelings were not be invalidated.
The most important:  I urge every adoptees who had been abused in their adoptive families to not keep the secret for themselves.

The danger of a wrong diagnosis

It should terrify people that wrong assumptions are being made regarding a fostered/adopted person's behavior.

Often times the medications given not only do NOT help, but they also cause side effects that include increased feelings of depression, which can in fact, lead to suicide.  [The studies are out, there, you just have to pay to read the findings.]

<rolling eyes>

Feeling hopeless and helpless, and then being medicated because no one is willing to listen to the problems that are taking place at home... I think is very concerning.

Oddly enough, this topic of conversation came to my attention, years ago, when I received an email from a first mom I "met" through Adoption.con.  She learned her child, who was adopted by a "good couple", was in an accident.  That accident turned out to be a suicide, done on the Afather's birthday.  Imagine being told the child you hoped to have a better life committed suicide.  [Keep in mind, this adoptee went to many therapists, including a self-proclaimed authority on adoption issues.]

I believe any loving parent would agree, there is no greater grief or loss than the death of their own child.

We can take sides until the cows come home, but the truth is, there are lives being taken, and it cannot be denied that child placement does have something to do with that.


Suicide study

A 2005 Swedish study states:

There are several factors underlying the better prognosis for national adoptees, such as lower age at adoption and positive selection procedures. Furthermore, the non-Scandinavian appearance of the international adoptees should be taken into consideration. Firstly, there can be problems due to discrimination from their environment. For instance, adoptees with a foreign appearance seem to have a disadvantage in the labour market—compared to non-adopted individuals and adoptees without foreign appearance—that cannot be explained by their educational background or qualifications. Secondly, international adoptees are often claimed to have more problems in finding their own identity than national adoptees since they do not only have to find out who they are in relation to their biological and adoptive parents but also who they are in relation to their outer appearance and their definition of themselves as Swedes.

In the group of international adoptees, striking aspects of gender differences concerning suicide attempts have emerged. The gender paradox in suicidal behaviour (higher suicide rates in men but higher rates of suicide attempt in women) has been described and analysed in numerous studies and articles, but, to our knowledge, none has addressed this specific problem in relation to international adoption. In the present study, our findings are in line with previous research demonstrating the gender paradox as such. However, in international adoptees, gender differences seemed to extend even further. For both internationally adopted men and women, risks of suicide and suicide attempt were elevated compared to non-adopted individuals. But when genders were analysed separately, the risks for internationally adopted women were elevated to a greater extent than the risks for internationally adopted men.

One possible explanation could be that internationally adopted girls have a number of risk factors that are not just additive but rather multiplicative.Wannan and Fombonne found in a study of 5,426 American children aged between 8 and 17 years that a symptomatic profile combining depressive symptoms with substance abuse or antisocial behaviour appeared to carry an even higher risk for suicidal behaviour in girls than in boys. Since such a combination of multiple risk factors seems to be more common in international adoptees than in non-adoptees, the suggested female sensitivity may account for at least part of the gender differences concerning suicidal behaviour in international adoptees found in this study. Another possible explanation could be that internationally adopted girls, due to their foreign appearance and gender, may not only be exposed to harassment in general but also to sexual harassment in particular.

from: Suicidal behaviour in national and international adult adoptees, December 2005


Where I live there are many ethnicities and races; my children are at the top of this hodgepodge of people...  this is true because of their work ethics from home schooling and the fact that our group was out in the public and known.  This is
NOT par for the course in America.  We are/were different in terms of being accepted as different.  BUT, moving out into
the world will present an entirely different challenge and I can see very clearly how this is similar to an Asian being adopted
into a Swedish home in Sweden. 
The one thing I did right... hopefully, was to view our area of the U.S. and see how it could work being a different nationality
or color and still fit in.  BUT, I did not go further in evaluating how the adult adoptee would favor in the whole country should
they choose to live elsewhere. 
I'm very interested in what is said in this forum as it pertains to the happiness of my family... and I do see how some adoptees
turn to suicide because of these very things of not fitting in. 
Here's another place that Holt is lacking when placing children: Just how has it been a positive experience or a negative
experience for the Holt adoptee?  But I forget, they are not about the right thing being done... only getting it done.

One Step Up From Bottom,

Pound Pup Legacy