Sunday, November 26, 2017
Discussing Psychological Autopsy Further
The psychological autopsy was developed in 1960 by American Association of Suicidology's(AAS) founding president Dr. Edwin Shneidman, along with Robert Littman,MD and Norman Farborow,PhD. Although it has been refined over the years, it has become the best practiced postmortem procedure to reconstruct the proximate and distal causes of an individual's death by suicide. The psychological autopsy can also ascertain the most likely manner of death where that manner of death is equivocal and left undetermined by a medical examiner or coroner. Furthermore, it helps promote understandings to the often asked- "why"?" question raised by survivors regarding the suicide of their loved one. Psychological autopsy is used in case-control research studies to better gather risk factors for suicide and interconnections between cases. It has been confirmed that the vast majority of suicide victims could be diagnosed as having had a mental disorder, usually depression, manic depression, or alcohol or drug problems. The availability of firearms in the home of suicide completers, traumatic events in person's lives and other psychological and social factors were focused on by other studies. Researcher investigation and clinical and legal use are two major trends in the use of psychological autopsies. Research investigators generally involve many people who die by suicide. Then they compare the results with another group, for example, accident victims to see if some factors are important in discriminating between suicides and other details. The use of psychological autopsies by clinical and legal involves the investigations of a single death in order to clarify how and why a person died. This may include information to help family and friends better understand why a tragic death occurred. This information may also lead to suggesting means of preventing suicides, such as by suggesting improvements in hospital treatment or suicide prevention in jails. To determine the status of insurance coverage is one of the primary reasons for conducting a psychological autopsy. If the cause of death is determined to be suicide, some policies do not compensate the family. The family will receive a double hardship as they must cope with financial losses and the emotional burden of trying to accept suicide as a reality. Based on the psychological information, the role of the psychologist is to evaluate whether evidence exists to support suicide as a reasonable conclusion. As opposed to the other causes, the psychological state of the individual, prior to his or her death is of utmost importance in assessing whether that death might be possibly be suicide, as opposed to other causes. It is important to assess a death as suicide based purely on physiological results. The mental status of the individual is not present in a medical autopsy. Because the individual is deceased, this type of psychological evaluation is unique. Medical records, the events leading up to the person's death and the official account of the death are all reviewed. Also, family and friends are interviewed to assess the person's long term functioning.