July 27, 2015
The most common diagnoses among Belgian individuals who requested euthanasia for psychological suffering associated with psychiatric disorders were depression and personality disorder, according to study findings in BMJ Open.
“The Belgian Euthanasia Law (2002) defines euthanasia as the physician’s ‘act of deliberately ending a patient’s life at the latter’s request,’ by administering life-ending drugs. In Europe, psychological suffering stemming from either a somatic or mental disorder is acknowledged as a valid legal basis for euthanasia only in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg,” study researcher Lieve Thienpont, PhD, of the University Hospital Brussels in Belgium, and colleagues wrote. “The Belgian Euthanasia Law indicates explicitly that requests for euthanasia from non-terminally ill adults or ‘emancipated minors’ (ie, minors who are legally independent from their parents) suffering from ‘unbearable and untreatable’ somatic and psychiatric disorders can be granted, as well as those from terminally ill patients.”