Sample English Paper on Suicide and Euthanasia

Suicide and euthanasia

Suicide is one of the leading causes of deaths in the twenty first century and majorly affecting the young generation (Paterson 3). However, unlike majority of principal causes of death, personal suicide continues to cause more deaths each year worldwide. Depression is a chief cause of suicide attempts and many suicide cases worldwide (Beck and Brad 2). Some research on suicide reveals that people who consider suicide as the way to escape their current situation differ from other people in major aspects of how they react to events, how they think, and most significantly on how they make their decision. There are considerable differences evident in the aspects of attention, memory, emotions, and planning. These differences normally occur with disorders like depression, anxiety, substance use, and psychosis. In other cases, suicidal behavior is triggered by situations such as violence or personal loss.

In order to be in a position of detecting the risks to prevent suicide, it is vital to understand the role of both immediate factors such as mental health and recent life events, and long-term factors such as certain experiences in childhood (Paterson 5). Some research reveals that genes can to some extend increase or make a person more resilient to hardships or loss (Beck and Brad 74).

In most cases, suicide thought may result from depression or mental disorder. Depression is a condition that subjects a person to unhappiness or downswings in mood, mainly due to the normal ups and down of life that includes life’s setbacks, struggles, and disappointment. In reality, every person feels sad and get disappointed when thing do not work as they are intended to. Generally, such feelings are often short lived. People get disappointed when thing do not work as per their intentions. Severe conditions of depression may subject a person to a feeling of emptiness, lifelessness, restlessness, aggressiveness and bitterness. In most cases when these feelings are not properly managed, the person might result to wrong decisions which may include suicide attempt. It is normal for a person to be depressed, however proper management of depression is indispensable to ensure the person does not take suicidal actions.

Depression is caused by a combination of factors such as biological, social, environmental, psychological and genetic factors (Beck and Brad 5). Normally, depression illnesses are disorders that affect the brain. Magnetic resonance imaging which is one of the brain imaging technology has shown that people with depression have different brain from other people (Beck and Brad 44). The particular parts in the brain that are involved in thinking, mood, sleeping, behavior and appetite appear different on depressed people. A greater number of suicide cases have been associated with mental illness (Paterson 89).

Suicide and euthanasia are similar in most aspect but differ in the manner in which they are administered. Most people confuse assisted suicide with euthanasia and others assume they are the same.  Actually, euthanasia is what is termed as mercy killing in other regions. Suicide is based on personal choice unlike euthanasia in which the family members or physician makes decision on behalf of the sick person to terminate his/her life. Euthanasia is premeditated termination of person’s life in order to relieve him/her from suffering. For example, a patient in critical condition with a disease such as terminal cancer can be given an overdose of muscle relaxant by a doctor in order to terminate his/her life. Assisted suicide is an action of deliberate encouraging or helping another person to terminate their life (Behuniak and Arthur 3). In this case, relatives of the person suffering from a terminal disease can obtain a powerful sedative, with the knowledge that the sick person intend to take an overdose in order to terminate his or her life.

Suicide has been considered crime in larger parts of the world in the past. Although the action of suicide has been discouraged and stigmatized, individual suicide has been decriminalized in western societies (Behuniak and Arthur 5). The challenge of imposing punitive action against a person who has committed suicide is because the person who successfully commits suicide ceases to exist. As a result, some nations have criminalized failed suicide attempts because the subject is available (Behuniak and Arthur 14). Historically, laws against euthanasia (mercy killing) and suicide have originated from religious doctrines which claim that God is the creator and the only “person” responsible for termination of life. There have been several debates on the ethical concerns of euthanasia and assisted suicide, which have seen some states in United States legalize the action. These states include Washington, Vermonty and Oregon. Nations where Euthanasia and assisted suicide is legal includes: Colombia, Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Estonia, Belgium, Japan, Luxembourg and some states of United States.

Majority of debates on assisted suicide focus on religious, ethical, moral, social and legal issues related to murder and suicide. The legal position of both euthanasia and assisted suicide depends on legal policies in deferent nations and states. However, both assisted suicide and euthanasia are illegal actions under law in majority of states and nations. Termination of a person life under whatever reason is not allowed. Depending on the situation, euthanasia is considered as either murder or manslaughter which is punishable by law, with a maximum penalty that extends up to life imprisonment (Keown 34). Suicide Act (1961) prohibits actions of assisted suicide under whatever reason by the English law. Such an action is punishable by up to fourteen years imprisonment.

Work Cited

Beck, Aaron T, and Brad A. Alford. Depression: Causes and Treatment. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009. Print.

Behuniak, Susan M, and Arthur G. Svenson. Physician-assisted Suicide: The Anatomy of a Constitutional Law Issue. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2003. Print.

Keown, John. Euthanasia, Ethics, and Public Policy: An Argument against Legislation. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Print.

Paterson, Craig. Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia: A Natural Law Ethics Approach. Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2008. Print.