Show Summary Details
Page of

Depression, demoralization, and suicidality 

Depression, demoralization, and suicidality
Depression, demoralization, and suicidality

David W. Kissane

and Matthew Doolittle

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD MEDICINE ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Medicine Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 04 December 2021

The development of clinical depression is common during palliative care, adversely affects quality of life and adherence to medical treatments, yet regrettably can pass unrecognized. Screening for distress as the sixth vital sign is therefore highly recommended. Demoralization is another form of distress where the apparent pointlessness of continued life may lead to suicidal thinking. As the mental condition deteriorates, co-morbid states of anxiety, depression, and demoralization become more likely. Rates of suicide are increased with advanced cancer and poor symptom control. Fortunately, combined treatment with medication and counselling is effective in ameliorating depression, demoralization, and suicidality. Meta-analyses of psychotherapy trials confirm clear benefits, with behavioural activation, supportive, interpersonal, and cognitive behavioural therapies all making contributions. Group, couple, and family therapies optimize support for all involved. All members of the multidisciplinary team contribute to the active treatment of depression, demoralization, and the prevention of suicide.

Access to the complete content on Oxford Medicine Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.