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Attitudes towards suicide slowly began to shift during the Renaissance.John Donne's work Biathanatos, contained one of the first modern defences of suicide, bringing proof from the conduct of Biblical figures, such as Jesus, Samson and Saul, and presenting arguments on grounds of reason and nature to sanction suicide in certain circumstances.
A number of other medical conditions may present with symptoms similar to mood disorders, including hypothyroidism, Alzheimer's, brain tumors, systemic lupus erythematosus, and adverse effects from a number of medications (such as beta blockers and steroids).
An evolutionary explanation for suicide is that it may improve inclusive fitness.
In the Middle Ages, the Church had drawn-out discussions as to when the desire for martyrdom was suicidal, as in the case of martyrs of Córdoba.
Despite these disputes and occasional official rulings, Catholic doctrine was not entirely settled on the subject of suicide until the later 17th century.
There is little evidence as to why this association exists; however it has been hypothesized that those who are predisposed to smoking are also predisposed to suicide, that smoking causes health problems which subsequently make people want to end their life, and that smoking affects brain chemistry causing a propensity for suicide.
The prevalence of increased suicidality persisted after adjusting for depressive illness and alcohol abuse.
The opposite of the Werther effect is the proposed Papageno effect, in which coverage of effective coping mechanisms may have a protective effect.
The term is based upon a character in Mozart's opera The Magic Flute, who (fearing the loss of a loved one) had planned to kill himself until his friends helped him out.
The person would be buried alone, on the outskirts of the city, without a headstone or marker.