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Semin Dial. 2005 Mar-Apr;18(2):147-53.

The psychiatric landscape of withdrawal.

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Department Psychiatry, Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, Massachusetts 01199, USA.


Withdrawal from dialysis is an appropriate decision for situations in which the burdens of treatment outweigh the benefits. Alternately, it can be viewed as a public health problem and suicide equivalent that contributes to the high mortality of end-stage renal disease (ESRD). More than one in five deaths of patients with ESRD are preceded by dialysis cessation, and approximately 15,000 Americans died last year following a determination to stop this life-support treatment. This article discusses what is known about the psychosocial aspects of the patients who terminate dialysis, the role of depression and other psychiatric disorders, the family perspective, and the relationship of these decisions to suicide.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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