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 ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 65  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 46--51

An insight into death wish among patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in India using “Wish-to-Die Questionnaire”


1 Department of Neurology, Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Clinical Psychology, Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences, New Delhi; Department of Psychology, University of Delhi, India
3 Department of Clinical Psychology, Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences, New Delhi, India
4 Department of Neurology, Bombay Hospital Institute of Medical Sciences, Mumbai, India

Correspondence Address:
Mandaville Gourie-Devi
Department of Neurology, Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences Dilshad Garden, New Delhi - 110 095
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0028-3886.198177

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Aims: In amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), death wish is expressed in a varying proportion of patients in different countries. In this first study from India, influence of belief system of religion/spirituality and attitude towards death, widely prevalent in the country, in decision making, was evaluated. Material and Methods: Twenty ALS patients were assessed using 'Wish-to-Die Questionnaire' (WDQ) developed to reflect seven domains, namely religion/spirituality, belief in karma, meaning of life, hope, family support, financial support and death wish. Functional impairment, depression, hopelessness and suicidal ideation were assessed by ALS Functional Rating Scale, Beck's Depression Inventory, Beck Hopelessness Scale and The Scale of Suicidal Ideation, respectively. Results: On WDQ, all the 20 patients had belief in religion/spirituality, had hope and family support. Nineteen patients (95%) believed in karma, 16 (80%) still found life meaningful and 15 (75%) had financial support. Six patients (30%) had mild to moderate depression; hopelessness was present in 6 (30%) and suicidal ideation was present in one (5%). The 5 (25%) patients who expressed death wish did not significantly differ from others in 6 domains (religion/spirituality, belief in karma, meaning of life, hope, family support, financial support) of WDQ. The main reason in 3 patients who expressed death wish was lack of financial support. The fourth patient could not find meaning of life after the onset of illness, and the fifth wished to end his life since he had satisfactorily fulfilled all his responsibilities. Conclusion: Smaller proportion of patients of ALS expressed death wish in India compared to the Western countries. This may be attributed to belief in religion/spirituality and karma, having meaning of life and family support. As this is the first report from India, useful information may be obtained if similar studies are done on a larger sample.






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