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DepressionLaw and Ethics$
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Charles Foster and Jonathan Herring

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198801900

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198801900.001.0001

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Depression in the Ill and the Dying

Depression in the Ill and the Dying

Chapter:
(p.91) 9 Depression in the Ill and the Dying
Source:
Depression
Author(s):

Julian C Hughes

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198801900.003.0009

This chapter focuses on depression in ill and dying patients. The symptoms of depression are the same in sick people and in those approaching death as they are in anyone else. While pervasive low mood, loss of pleasure and interest (anhedonia), and loss of energy are still core to the syndrome of depression, the triad of worthlessness or low self-esteem, helplessness, and hopelessness can sometimes be more important. The biological features of depression are also often present. However, in illness, or when death is near, some things may be different. This chapter first considers what makes depression different in people who are ill or dying before discussing a variety of case histories, based on real experience but not reflecting any particular individual, which each raise specific issues to do with depression in the ill and the dying. It suggests that the holism of a biopsychosocial and spiritual approach must be taken into account both to assist diagnosis and to ensure appropriate treatment, while also providing a less circumscribed and more humane approach to the ill and the dying.

Keywords:   depression, ill, dying, death, illness, case histories, biopsychosocial approach, spiritual approach, diagnosis, treatment

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