Locked-In Doesn't Mean Locked-Out from Happiness

Most patients with locked-in syndrome report they are happy

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Most patients with locked-in syndrome -- resulting from brain stem injury, which leaves patients unable to move or communicate except via eye movements -- report they are happy.

Based on a survey measuring self-assessed well-being in a cohort of 91 chronic locked-in patients, members of the French Association for Locked in Syndrome, 72 percent reported being happy, even though only 1 in 5 said they were able to engage in everyday activities that are important to them.

Around two-thirds of patients had a partner and lived at home, and about 70 percent reported having religious beliefs.

A total of four patients said they would opt for euthanasia if given the choice.

The 28 percent of respondents who said they were unhappy reported maneuvering difficulties, social/recreational restrictions and a lack of coping skills as reasons for their unhappiness.

A shorter period of living with the syndrome -- under one year -- was also associated with unhappiness.

As many as 50,000 suffer with locked-in syndrome in the United States.

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Review Date: 
February 25, 2011
Last Updated:
February 28, 2011