Pain and suffering may not be real reason behind the choice.

A new study suggests the terms of the debate over assisted suicide may be changing, according to the Washington Post 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.

While it is unlikely the two sides will resolve their differences any time soon, many states are moving forward with legislation to allow physician assisted suicide and laws allowing the practice have passed in a few states.

Philip J. Kavesh
Nationally recognized attorney helping clients with customized estate planning guidance for over 40 years.
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