A study by the University of Zurich has shown that a quarter of people who accompany someone to commit assisted suicide suffer serious psychological distress. The results are available in the October issue of the Journal European Psychiatry.

85 people who went with a friend or family member to an EXIT euthanasia clinic were interviewed by researchers.

The interviews were carried out between one and two years after the assisted suicide. Twenty five percent experienced post traumatic stress disorder and sixteen percent had depression. Five percent were found to have long term grief.

The research did not include a direct comparison with the effects of a natural death on a loved one. However the study was compared to a number of other studies. The study showed that problems can surface 14 to 24 months later and that a death not from natural causes was a heavy burden for those who supported the deceased. The results showed that post traumatic stress disorder was more common for people close to an assisted suicide case rather than a natural death.

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