Q. Do you have references about love affairs, depression, and suicide attempts?

A. I take it you are referring to failed love affairs. Obviously this type of situation involves a loss, which can contribute to contextual or event-related depression. In a nutshell, suicide is maladaptive, although the brain is set up for possible depression when a love affair fails. Romantic love is associated with high levels of dopamine and norepinephrine, which can cause serotonin to fall. Low levels of serotonin have been associated with depression and with suicide attempts. Since “love” involves changes in brain chemicals, the “loss” of that love can also impact your neurochemistry.

Here are a couple of references:

  • Fisher, Helen. Why We Love. NY: Henry Holt and Company, 2004.
  • Ezzell, Carol. Why? The Neuroscience of Suicide. NY: Scientific American Inc, February, 2003.