J Korean Geriatr Psychiatry.  2001 Dec;5(2):120-133.

Neurobiology of Suicide in the Elderly

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Seoul National University Coll-ege of Medicine, Korea. hyjung@brm.co.kr
  • 2Department of Psychiatry, Seoul Muni-cipal Boramae Hospital, Seoul, Korea.


Older persons are at higher risk for suicide than any other groups of the population. Recently, it has been suggested that, in addition to the psychological and sociocultural factors, the neurobiological determinants also might play an important role in increasing the risk of suicide in late-life. For explaining such a high suicidal risk, the neurochemical changes involved in elderly suicide should be elucidated on the basis of the neurobiology of normal/abnormal aging, and the biologic abnormalities of the psychiatric illnesses associated with suicidal ideation and suicide itself. Although research on elderly suicide continues to grow, there remains limited knowledge of the biologic changes that increase risk for suicide in old age. In this article, the biologic changes in the central nervous system occurring with normal aging process were reviewed and then, a few findings from the neurobiological studies on elderly suicides were discussed.


Suicide; Aging; Neurobiology
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