Researches About Suicide and Affective Disorders
There have been assumptions that cholesterol levels have a great correlation with suicidal attempts of depressive clients. To support this assumption, it is better if one will be able to know the effect of cholesterol on neurobiology. According to Fiedorowicz and Haynes (2010), cholesterol functions like a serotonin. This substance mediates the aggressive, violent, and impulsive behaviours, predisposing a person to suicide. Because it also functions in the improvement of membrane stability and reduction in permeability, a reduction on its level may impair the function of serotonin receptors resulting to a decrease in the activity of serotonin. Low cholesterol then is said to be associated with suicidal attempts.
Diaz-Sastre et al. (2007) conducted a study to support this association of cholesterol and suicidal attempts. The study revealed that there is a significant decrease in the level of cholesterol in the suicidal group than those in the control group. However, it is more significant in men than in women. Atmaca et al. (2006) also made a study to support this correlation but with consideration to the serum ghrelin. Involvement of serum ghrelin is necessary since it remotely regulates the circulation of cholesterol (Perez-Tilve, 2010). The study made by Atmaca et al. (2006) showed that suicide attempters have a decreased level of cholesterol compared to non-attempters but with increased levels of ghrelin compared to the control group.
This issue challenged some researchers to conduct studies about the relationship of cholesterol-lowering medications and suicidal ideations. Sansone (2008) indicated that cholesterol-lowering medications can increase psychiatric symptoms such as depression and may even cause deaths. Nonetheless, other empirical studies argue with this notation.
Atmaca, M., Tezcan, E., Parmaksiz, S., Saribas, M., Ozler, S. & Ustundag, B. (2006). Serum Ghrelin and Cholesterol Values in Suicide Attempters. Neuropsychobiology 54, pp. 59-63.
Diaz-Sastre, C., Baca-Garcia, E., Perez-Rodriguez, M.M., Garcia-Resa, E., Ceverino, A., Saiz-Ruiz, J., … & de Leon, J. (2007). Low plasma cholesterol levels in suicidal males: A gender- and body mass index-matched case-control of suicide attempters and nonattempters. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry 31 (4), pp. 901-905.
Fiedorowicz, J.G. & Hyanes, W.G. (2010). Cholesterol, mood, and vascular health: Untangling the relationship. Does low cholesterol predispose to depression and suicide, or vice versa? Current Psychiatry 9 (7), pp. 17-22.
Perez-Tilve, D., Hofmann, S.M., Basford, J., Nogueiras, R., Pfluger, P.T., Patterson, J.T., … & Tschop, M.H. (2010). Melanocortin signaling in the CNS directly regulates circulating cholesterol. Nature Neuroscience 13, pp. 877-882.
Sansone, R.A. (2008). Cholesterol Quandaries: Relationship to Depression and the Suicidal Experience. Psychiatry 5 (3), pp. 22-34.