Year: 2000 Source: Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, v.34, no.2, (April 2000), p.325-333 SIEC No: 20010546

The aim in this paper is to review the clinical role of the psychiatrist in assessing patients who seek euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide. 3 areas were examined: recent surveys of psychiatrists’ attitudes; empirical & clinical studies; & treatment issues. Demoralisation & depression emerge as pertinent clinical issues worthy of psychiatric intervention. The role of the psychiatrist is complex & includes issues of assessment, systems, countertransference, & treament. Dutch guidelines for physician-assisted suicide in the mentally ill generate serious concern given the uncertainty of prognosis, potential range & variability of outome of treatments of suicidality, & the boundary violations that are involved for the psychiatrist. The guidelines have the potential to dangerously alter the practice of psychiatry & should be condemned. (66 refs.)