Existential suffering


Tired of life – existential suffering

The terminology used to define people with a death wish is quite broad. Examples are 'completed life', 'done with life', 'suffering from life', 'voluntarily end-of-life' and 'self-imposed end-of-life'.1

The Dutch government established a committee of experts to investigate the possibilities of enabling assistance with dying when a patient considers his/her life completed. They used the following definition for people with a completed life: 'It concerns mostly older people, who believe they have no more positive life prospects and hence developed a persistent, active death wish.'2 The committee concluded in 2016 that expanding the legislation for older people with a completed life is unnecessary and undesirable.


1. A. van der Heide e.a., Kennisagenda Ouderen en het zelfgekozen levenseinde, Den Haag:ZonMw 2014, p. 13.

2. P. Schnabel e.a., Voltooid leven. Over hulp bij zelfdoding aan mensen die hun leven voltooid achten, Amersfroot: Wilco 2016, p. 34.

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Erasmus School of Law
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