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ASSISTED SUICIDE FOR MENTAL ILLNESS


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With the Brittany Maynard case and her ability to end her life in a dignified manner because of terminal cancer, I started thinking about this application to mental illness. I know we are to avoid suicide at all costs, but it still happens...a lot. Instead of having to blow your head off or hang yourself why not let it be that you have a choice to have a doctor prescribe life ending barbituates and you can die in dignity.

I am not completely sure I am for this, but I think this is just another slap in the face of the mentally ill that we have to sufferr bone crushing unremitting pain at times for life but have no options like the physically ill do.

Your thoughts?

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I still really don't know how I feel about this. I can agree with parts from both sides. I would love to be able to end my life that way. But I can also understand why it is not a thing. As much as I hate to say it, I don't think that it will ever be made available for mentally ill people. But then, I also think that every single person should have the right to decide whether or not they live or die and it should be accepted. Then that's me looking at it from a suicidal persons point of view. I can't really understand it from a non MI persons point of view.

See, I'm so confused about it, lol.

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I still really don't know how I feel about this. I can agree with parts from both sides. I would love to be able to end my life that way. But I can also understand why it is not a thing. As much as I hate to say it, I don't think that it will ever be made available for mentally ill people. But then, I also think that every single person should have the right to decide whether or not they live or die and it should be accepted. Then that's me looking at it from a suicidal persons point of view. I can't really understand it from a non MI persons point of view.

See, I'm so confused about it, lol.

Perhaps people should be cleared of any treatable mental illnesses before they can make that decision really, because there are times you hate your life but that is not permenent for some people. If that was possible I'll be dead right now and I don't want to be dead right now : i dunno

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The doctors would lose their licenses. They can't provide meds for euthanasia to someone in a transient state, however long that transient state may last. There's always the possibility of improvement, even if it takes years. You can't say that about someone in the very late stages of cancer, it isn't transient.

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No way. You don't need assistance if you are bound and determined to do it. People who need assistance desire to live until they are too weak to do it themselves. And no doctor would be a part of something that is in contravention to the Hippocratic Oath.

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Perhaps people should be cleared of any treatable mental illnesses before they can make that decision really, because there are times you hate your life but that is not permenent for some people. If that was possible I'll be dead right now and I don't want to be dead right now : i dunno

See, I'm so confused about it, lol.

 

 

^This is what came to mind for me too.  Sometimes MI moods can be so up and down or they can come and go, or delusional etc, that someone (with MI) could make a judgement call based on how they feel in the moment, and not take into consideration every other moment in their life. 

 

If this had been available years ago I would have been dead right now, but I wasn't in the right frame of mind back then.

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I think all (or most) options/treatments should be tried before that decision. The person should put all the effort they possibly can into bettering themselves and give things time to work before making such a huge choice.

And like others I agree there's points in your life where you feel like you're worse off, but then it gets better and you look back and regret even thinking about ending it. Or you realize whatever you were going through wasn't that bad. That would make things hard to determine.

I'm one of the people who thinks suicide is a permanent solution for a temporary problem. (Don't attack me!) I know there's people here who would disagree, who've suffered all or most of their lives, and I'm so sorry. But I've always been a fighter, and that's just me.

Edited by Paranoidling
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Not all mental illnesses are as transient as well-managed bipolar disorder. What if it was a mental illness that did not improve? Or an illness that would reliably and regularly have very painful periods? I think we're shortchanging the discussion if we only consider depressives episodes in our survey of conditions. 

 

JT07 - You're wrong about doctors not being involved in assisted suicides. From listening to right-to-die advocates, doctors are sometimes involved in assisted suicide; maybe not directly, but at the very least the turn their backs when it happens. Surely a lot of people must be killed by their families in a way that would be obvious to the medical doctor, yet I haven't heard of any prosecutions. Doctors know better than anyone the futility of intensive end-of-life care and the grotesque suffering it brings to their patients.  

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"Bipolar disorder results in 9.2 years reduction in expected life span, and as many as one in five patients with bipolar disorder completes suicide." (National Institute of Mental Health)

 

"Terminal illness is a disease that cannot be cured or adequately treated and that is reasonably expected to result in the death of the patient within a short period of time." (Wikipedia)

 

What makes bipolar terminal is that people kill themselves because of it. In this case, involving another person to "assist" you is ridiculous.

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If I had a cancer with an 80% remission rate, I would take the chemo, radiation, or surgery. That's good odds.

Buuut bipolar and all MI's are more like other chronic manageable conditions like diabetes, asthma, crohn's disease, and suchlike. My asthma has made my life miserable at times and nearly killed me on a couple of occasions. My MI has made my life miserable more often and nearly killed me on somewhat more occasions.

I don't think that having an easy, painless way out at hand would be good...because I'd use it impulsively.

...there are some pretty treatment-resistant people out there...

Which of those MI people are the rare few who are actually doomed to be severely symptomatic their whole lives, and which ones are of the vast majority who merely think they are hopeless cases?

Mr Crazypants' evil psychiatrist told him, at one point, " There's nothing more we can do for you, you are incurable." and discharged him while he was still flamingly suicidal...

When I started talking to him, I was all like " You don't tell a patient that! That is bullshit! She doesn't know whether or not you can improve! NOBODY does! All she can say is that nothing they have tried so far has worked."

And now...we have found something that works for him. He's broken out in sanity, complete with episodes of ironing and housecleaning.

...So. Assisted suicide for the mentally ill would lead to a lot of dead mentally ill people.

Which would only be good if you're a bureaucrat trying to pare a budget, I guess.

Since there are such bureaucrats, I don't want to give them ideas on how they could pare their budgets.

Edited by Stickler
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I think that people who want to die should be allowed to die, and they should have the option of being able to do so in the easiest manner possible.

The severity of mental illnesses may come and go, but many are intractable and cause so much suffering for so many years, the suffering in the end is much greater than the suffering someone dying of something like cancer may have (for instance, I have been suffering greatly for almost my entire life from my MI- forty years- with very little time when I'm feeling ok). The argument that an illness like cancer will kill someone whether they want to die or not, while a mental illness won't, simply makes it clear that the terminal cancer patient's suffering will eventually cease (generally within a short time period), whereas the mentally ill person may suffer for the entirety of a human lifespan. It's inhumane.

I'm really not sure why suffering needs to be quantified by someone besides the person suffering (I did that a bit above as a means of explaining myself, but I absolutely could not tell you who may be suffering more, I can only talk about my experience).

If someone feels such acute suffering that they want to die, why does another person's morality get to take that choice away from the person who wants to be at an end of suffering? Of course I think that it should be something people should go through a process before doing, not something done impulsively. Legal assisted suicide has stringent guidelines set up to avoid that.

Personally, I will not end my life until my children are all old enough to understand and all agree to it- and only if I am unable to find a way to be happier more than I am not. Still trying to find a way.

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