The debate around assisted suicide often centers on allowing people to pass away when they choose, so they can avoid living in pain. However, that might not be the real reason for assisted suicide.
Physician assisted suicide is one of the most controversial issues in elder law.
Many people believe it is wrong to end a human life other than by natural means, even if that person is in great pain and wishes for death. Others believe that people should be able to make the decision when and how they pass away for themselves.
While it is unlikely the two sides will resolve their differences anytime soon, many states are moving forward with legislation to allow physician assisted suicide and laws allowing the practice have passed in a few states.
A new study suggests that the terms of the debate might soon change.
The Washington Post reported on the study in “It’s not pain by ‘existential distress’ that leads people to assisted suicide, study suggests.”
It has commonly been believed that people choose assisted suicide to end their pain and suffering. However, the study found that the actual reason terminally ill people choose to end their own lives is psychological.
Most who choose the option are used to being in control over their own lives and they have the education and wealth to have that control. They also want to be in control of when their lives end.
This might change the debate on the controversial issue, since it might be possible that psychological treatment could assist terminally ill patients when evaluating if assisted suicide is right for them.
Reference: Washington Post (May 26, 2017) “It’s not pain by ‘existential distress’ that leads people to assisted suicide, study suggests.”
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