Switzerland Assisted Suicide Study & PTSD

A Swiss study, published in the journal European Psychiatry, found that “witnessing death by assisted suicide impacts the mental health of family members and friends.” Researchers conducted a cross-sectional survey of 85 family members or close friends who witnessed an assisted suicide facilitated by the organization Exit Deutsche Schweiz in Switzerland, where the practice is legal if done for “unselfish” motives. Researchers assessed the respondents 14 to 24 months after the assisted suicide. The results showed that about 20% of those surveyed had full or partial post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), 16% had symptoms of depression, 6% exhibited anxiety symptoms, and 4.9% experienced “complicated grief.” “Witnessing the unnatural death of a significant person,” researchers concluded, “seems to have a strong impact on the bereaved, which may lead to severe mental health problems.…” [European Psychiatry, 2/11/11] PRC consultant Wesley J. Smith put the study’s findings in perspective. “By way of comparison: 11% of American soldiers serving in Afghanistan have PTSD, and 20% of Iraq veterans,” he wrote. “So, witnessing assisted suicide would appear to be equivalent in upset to serving in war zones.” [Human Exceptionalism Blog, National Review, 11/24/14] [Update 074, Volume 28, Number 6 (2014-6), Patients Rights Council; http://www.patientsrightscouncil.org/site/update-074-volume-28-number-6-2014-6/...

Study Measures Benefits of More Involved Fathers

Children face greater risk when agencies focus only on moms, overlook dads Family service agencies are missing huge opportunities to help children by focusing only on mothers and ignoring fathers, according to a groundbreaking study by some top U.S. family and child development researchers. The scientific study, which is being published [10Aug09] in the Journal of Marriage and the Family, found that when mothers and fathers enrolled together in 16-week sessions to work on their relationships as parents and partners, their children were much less likely to show signs of depression, anxiety and hyperactivity. “The vast majority of family services — from parenting classes to home visits — are really aimed at mothers, while fathers are almost completely overlooked,” explained Dr. Kyle Pruett, clinical professor of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine and a co-author of the study. “The research is clear that the best way to create a healthy environment for children is to engage dads and moms together.” An executive summary of the research and the full research paper are available for the public. According to the most recent census statistics, one in three children grow up without fathers. For low-income families, that percentage is even greater. Previous research has found that kids with absent fathers are more likely to suffer from psychological problems, drug addiction or incarceration in their lifetime. The new study is especially relevant at a time when the president is calling on fathers to take more responsibility and when economic distress is expected to put more pressure on young fathers and their families. The Supporting Father Involvement study represents the first randomized,...

Are You Suffering from Post Abortion Stress?

October is National Depression Education and Awareness Month.     Are You Suffering from Post-Abortion Stress?   1. Do you find yourself struggling to turn off feelings or memories related to your abortion(s)? Do you need to keep reminding yourself to just forget it or put it behind you? Do you become uncomfortable around reminders of the abortion, such as being around babies or pregnant women, being in a doctor's office, or when hearing news reports about abortion?   2. Do you feel nervous or anxious at the idea of telling a loved one about your abortion? Is your abortion a secret that is holding you back from greater intimacy with others? When you do choose to share your abortion experience with others, are you overcome with strong feelings such as anger, grief, or guilt? Is there an increased distance between you and your parents, siblings, or partner because of the past abortion(s)?   3. Do you have trouble talking about the abortion issue as a political issue? When you do talk about it, do you find it hard to respect opposing views, or do you become overly emotional, either in support of or in opposition to it? 4. Do you tend to look at life in terms of "before" and "after" the abortion(s)? Are there traits about your "self" before the abortion that you lost but would wish to regain? Has the abortion changed the way you look at yourself? Have you lost interest in taking care of yourself? Have you tried to become less attractive to avoid the risk of becoming involved in a relationship, love, and sex? 5. Do you become angry or depressed more easily? Have you experienced "reconnectors" to your abortion, such as nightmares, flashbacks, or hallucinations, such as...

Women Want to Know About Abortion Risks: New Study Underscores Need for Informed Consent (JME, 7/06)

A new survey has found that women want to be thoroughly informed of all possible risks associated with elective medical procedures, and they generally want as much or more information when it comes to abortion. The survey of 187 women seeking obstetric and gynecological services at a Wisconsin women's health clinic was published in the Journal of Medical Ethics in July… The women were given a short survey in which they were asked to state their preferences for information about elective medical procedures. They ranked the degree of information they preferred regarding alternative treatments and complication rates, and rated the severity of different types of complications, ranging in severity from headaches to death. The results showed that 95 percent of patients wished to be informed of all the risks of a procedure and 69 percent wanted to be informed of all alternative treatments, not just the alternatives preferred by their doctor. Moreover, in their ranking of the seriousness of complications, mental health complications ranked as very serious, only slightly below the risk of death or heart disease. This finding may be especially important to the abortion debate since recent peer-reviewed studies have linked abortion to increased rates of mental health problems, such as suicidal behavior, clinical depression, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and sleep disorders.  "Doctors should anticipate that most women desire information on every potential risk, even risks that doctors may judge to be less serious or inconsequentially rare, and they will generally consider this information to be relevant to their decisions regarding elective procedures," the authors wrote.  Dr. David Reardon [dir, Elliot Institute, co-author of the study]: the...

Abortion & Increased Risk of Child Abuse: Child Maltreatment and Perinatal Loss (AP, 2005)

Acta Pædiatrica, 2005; 94:Associations between voluntary and involuntary forms of perinatal loss and child maltreatment among low-income mothers AbstractAim: This study explored maternal history of perinatal loss relative to risk of child physical abuse and neglect. Methods: The 518 study participants included 118 abusive mothers, 119 neglecting mothers, and 281 mothers with no known history of child maltreatment… Interviews and observations were conducted in the participants’ homes, and comparisons were made between women without a history of perinatal loss and women with one and multiple losses relative to risk for child maltreatment. Results: Compared to women with no history of perinatal loss, those with one loss (voluntary or involuntary) had a 99% higher risk for child physical abuse, and women with multiple losses were 189% more likely to physically abuse their children. Compared to women with no history of induced abortion, those with one prior abortion had a 144% higher risk for child physical abuse. Finally, maternal history of multiple miscarriages and/or stillbirths compared to no history was associated with a 1237% increased risk of physical abuse and a 605% increased risk of neglect. Conclusion: Perinatal loss may be a marker for elevated risk of child physical abuse, and this information is potentially useful to child maltreatment prevention and intervention efforts.   BackgroundPregnancy loss through miscarriage, stillbirth, and induced abortion has been linked with pronounced psychological problems in at least 10–25% of women [1–3]. Among those negatively impacted by voluntary and involuntary forms of perinatal loss, many stress-related responses have been identified including grief reactions [4,5], anxiety [6,7], depression [8,9], sleep disturbances [10,11], post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms [12,13], and,...