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Study: PTSD Found in Families of Assisted Suicide Victims

needle hypodermicEven though its proponents like to say that assisted suicide ensures a peaceful and dignified death, a new study has found that family members of those who choose to end their lives this way often suffer post traumatic stress disorder as a result of their loved one's "choice".

Writing for, bioethics attorney Wesley J. Smith reports on the study published in European Psychiatry which shows that 20 percent of close friends or family who witness assisted suicide develop PTSD in the aftermath.

"Of the 85 participants, 13% met the criteria for full PTSD, 6.5% met the criteria for subthreshold PTSD, and 4.9% met the criteria for complicated grief," the study found. "The prevalence of depression was 16%; the prevalence of anxiety was 6%."

So it's not all peace and happiness after all.

In fact, the study concluded that a higher prevalence of PTSD and depression was found in the sample of those who witnessed an assisted suicide than has been reported for the Swiss population in general.

"Therefore, although there seemed to be no complications in the grief process, about 20% of respondents experienced full or subthreshold PTSD related to the loss of a close person through assisted suicide," the report concluded.

Smith compares these findings to the PTSD rates found among American soldiers suffering in Afghanistan, of which 11 percent suffer the disorder, and 20 percent of soldiers who served in Iraq.

"So, witnessing assisted suicide would appear to be equivalent in upset to serving in war zones. Perhaps that will give the suicidal pause before they order the pills," Smith writes.

Unfortunately, the biggest organization in support of assisted suicide, Compassion and Choices, the same outfit that assisted in the highly publicized death of 29 year-old Brittany Maynard on November 1, disregards this bleak statistic and responds by sending "counselors" to the bereaved.

The good news in the study is that it indicates a normal reaction from people who have witnessed an event as traumatic as an intentional suicide.

" . . . (N)ormal people react to the awful nature of what is done," Smith writes. "That’s healthy, and . . . . in an ironic way, perhaps a cause for hope that the death tide will ebb."

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