People can die by giving up hope after a serious trauma and leaving the will to live behind. This is shown by research by a scientist at the University of British Portsmouth.

“It is not suicide and it has nothing to do with depression, but giving up life and dying, usually within a few days, is a real condition often associated with severe trauma,” said John Leach. The scientist distinguishes five stages for what he calls “give-it-it”. It concerns people who “react to traumatic stress by developing extreme apathy. They give up hope, leave the will to live behind and die, despite the fact that there is no clear organic cause.”

Physically, the disease could be reduced to a change in the brain caused by an “imbalance in dopamine”. Dopamine is the substance in our brains that gives us a good feeling, controls our feelings of reward and pleasure and helps the brain to regulate emotion and movement.

The scientist emphasizes that whoever ends up in the spiral of “give-it-it” is not necessarily put to death. The tide can still be reversed by interventions so that more dopamines are released. “The turnaround is usually used when someone feels that he has a choice and has some control and that often goes along with licking wounds and developing a renewed interest in life,” says Leach.

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