But not to stray to far from the topic at hand, the diagnostic criteria listed in the DSM-IV clearly support my claim in relation to the right to die issue. Depression is a poorly defined "condition" to begin with, and with widespread confusion between correlation and causation leads many people to assume depression has a physical cause because it has physical symptoms. My thesis for the purpose of this thread is that depression is diagnosed based on the ability of the individual to function in society - so to quote...
DSM-IV wrote:C. The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
There is it an entirely subjective, socially justified, mandatory criteria for diagnosing depression. Don't get to bogged down on the "clinically significant" jargon at the beginning, it's already being criticized for being too inclusive and redundant. Depression is poorly understood because it's poorly defined, and we have a trivial understanding of how non-biological influences shape brain functioning. This a very common issue in young sciences which haven't yet drawn the distinctions required to properly name and study various phenomenon within the discipline. You can clearly see this pattern playing out with all the new "spectrum" disorders, and the continuous refinement and splitting of over generalized concepts.
Felstaff wrote: If depression (the mental condition) is a factor in somebody wishing to take their own life, then I believe there is a responsibility from a person of authority (i.e. doctor) to help prevent that person from doing so.
Unfortunately as pointed out previously in this thread, suicidal thoughts are part of the diagnosis for depression. It's the same assumption - it's irrational to want to commit suicide, so people who want to commit suicide are crazy by definition. The idea that depression causes suicidal thoughts doesn't even make sense in this context. It's social perception shaping psychiatry, most people don't understand it so they assume because it doesn't happen to them that it's indicative of a disorder. Until very recently this is the same justification used to defined homosexuality as a "disorder" - broadly assumed to be irrational, a minority are diagnosed, and doctors had a responsibility to treat it. Now that we've matured socially and accept homosexuality as rational it's no longer a disorder.
smw543 wrote:Schizophrenics, who you acknowledge suffer from a physiological condition Since there judgment is being influenced by a physiological condition, wouldn't you agree that we should take some preventative action?
This is a hard question to answer, as it's a highly subjective decision. Some schizophrenics are going to do just fine with support, others live in unbearable conditions with little or no chances for sustained recovery left to suffer until they die. For the former, certainly they can consider treatment, for the latter I don't think it's irrational to commit suicide. Certainly if I was in that position I'd want to die, just as I'd want to die if I suffered sever neurological trama, or had another condition that caused significant pain or suffering. I'd like to believe that as a society we value all life, and that there are enough people who are willing to work diligently to treat and rehabilitate those who can be help, however this is demonstrably false and until that changes I consider humane suicide as the most compassionate and dignified option for many people.