suicidal behaviour

Summary of the chapter

Traumatic events in early childhood and their relation with suicidal behaviour

Silvia Vallejo Oñate

Suicide is a public health issue of growing importance. It is the leading external cause of death in many countries and the first among young males 24 to 35 years of age. It is estimated that throughout the world, suicide attempts occur every 2 seconds and suicide acts every 40 seconds. Suicidal behaviour is complex and heterogeneous and it is therefore associated with multiple factors, such as the presence of psychopathology, certain personality traits, traumatic events in childhood or stressful events throughout life.

Learning to recognise clinical, sociological, psychological and biological factors can help in the detection of individuals at greater risk, which can ultimately lead to the prevention of suicidal behaviours. Among the factors above mentioned, we will focus on the importance of traumatic events in childhood and its relationship with the development of psychiatric pathology. This relationship lies in the epigenetic mechanisms that alter individuals’ sensitivity to stress, brain functioning and behaviour.