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May 22, 1967

Changing Concepts of Suicide

Author Affiliations

Mount Vernon, NY

JAMA. 1967;200(8):728. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120210114028

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To the Editor:—  In regard to your editorial on changing concepts of suicide (199:752,1967), I am happy to see that psychiatry is returning to medicine and that both Freud's and Menninger's "unconscious" concepts are "fading away."Perhaps in the next few years it will dawn on the rest of the psychiatrists that depressions are but the human parallel evolutionary development of the hibernation phenomenon of bears, for example, and large numbers of all other living things. We have even found brown fat in the human similar to that in the hibernating animal!The human withdraws from all contact as an evolutionary selfpreservation mechanism. It is as simple as that.Now, if in the autonomically determined depths of depression, many environmental stimuli still force themselves on the patient, such as loss of job, desertion by mate, financial distress, etc, then the suicide act itself becomes a sudden catatonic episode in