Demoralization: introducing the concept and its importance for palliative care.

Miguel Barbosa, Susana Moutinho, Edna Gonçalves


Demoralization refers to a persistent failure of coping with stress as defined by Jerome Frank thirty years ago. Feelings of despair, isolation, hopelessness, loss of meaning and existential distress are the core features of the definition of demoralization. It is frequently associated with a chronic medical illness, fear of loss of dignity and perception of being a burden on others and it evolves to a desire to die. The authors reviewed the literature related to this concept and present the evidence related to the diagnosis, classification, treatment and relation of demoralization with the palliative care setting.

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