Scientist: People can die of 'give-up-itis' after trauma.
People can die from giving up their psychological fight for life after a severe trauma, according to a study by a British-based scientist. "Psychogenic death is real," John Leach, a senior researcher in the University of Portsmouth's department of sport and exercise science, said in a statement released Thursday. "It isn't suicide, it isn't linked to depression, but the act of giving up on life and dying, usually within days, is a very real condition often linked to severe trauma," Leach said. From clinical evidence, Leach identified five stages for what he calls "give-up-itis" in people who "respond to traumatic stress by developing extreme apathy, give up hope, relinquish the will to live and die, despite no obvious organic cause." His research, published in the November issue of the scientific journal Medical Hypotheses, led him to suggest that the progressive condition is "the clinical expression of mental defeat" and could be physically linked to brain dysfunction caused by "dopamine disequilibrium." Dopamines are "feel-good" neurotransmitter chemicals that help control the sensations of reward and pleasure, and help the brain to regulate emotion and movement. Leach adds that death is not inevitable for someone suffering from give-up-itis and can be reversed by interventions that trigger the release of more dopamines. "Reversing the give-up-itis slide towards death tends to come when a survivor finds or recovers a sense of choice, of having some control, and tends to be accompanied by that person licking their wounds and taking a renewed interest in life," he said. --DPA
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