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One in four people who accompany someone to commit assisted suicide suffer massive psychological distress, according to a new study by the University of Zurich.
Researchers at the university spoke to 85 people who went with a family member or close friend to an EXIT euthanasia clinic.
A quarter suffered from post traumatic stress disorder while 16 percent had depression. Five percent were found to have long-term grief.
The interviews were carried out one to two years after the assisted death of loved ones.
The results state that problems can surface 14 to 24 months later and that a death not from natural causes was a heavy burden for those who supported the deceased.
Although the research didn’t include a direct comparison with the effects of a natural death on a loved one, the study was compared to others.
This showed the researchers that post traumatic stress disorder was more common for people close to an assisted suicide case rather than a natural death.
The results have been published in the October issue of the journal European Psychiatry.
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I assisted the suicide of my terminally ill wife, Jean, 34 years ago, and it still hurts to think about it. It’s her untimely death which is so painful, not the manner of it. I have had no regrets for doing what she asked when in great distress after lengthy cancer.
I have often wondered if those who support assisted suicide and help patients/family members die feel regret afterwards, like many women do after abortion. And I know many women after abortion feel guilt and shame which makes it hard to talk about and find help - again would there be a similarity and these folks feel like they have no where to go with their pain? Should we start post-assisted suicide counseling programs like we have for women after abortion?