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Maltsberger, J.T. Goldblatt, M.J. Ronningstam, E. Weinberg, I. Schechter, M. (2011). Traumatic Subjective Experiences Invite Suicide. J. Amer. Acad. Psychoanal., 39(4):671-693.

(2011). Journal of American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 39(4):671-693

Traumatic Subjective Experiences Invite Suicide

John T. Maltsberger, M.D., Mark J. Goldblatt, M.D., Elsa Ronningstam, Ph.D., Igor Weinberg, Ph.D. and Mark Schechter, M.D.

The overwhelming events that lead to posttraumatic stress disorders and similar states are commonly understood to arise from noxious external events. It is however the unmasterable subjective experiences such events provoke that injure the mind and ultimately the brain. Further, traumatic over-arousal may arise from inner affective deluge with minimal external stimulation. Affects that promote suicide when sufficiently intense are reviewed; we propose that suicidal crises are often marked by repetitions (flashbacks) of these affects as they were originally endured in past traumatic experiences. Further, recurrent overwhelming suicidal states may retraumatize patients (patients who survive suicide attempts survive attempted murders, albeit at their own hands). We propose that repeated affective traumatization by unendurable crises corrodes the capacity for hope and erodes the ability to make and maintain loving attachments.

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