Peter Gøtzsche: Forced admission and forced treatment in psychiatry causes more harm than good

By Peter C. Gøtzsche, Professor, MD, DrMedSci, MSc.

8 March 2016

“Forced treatment in psychiatry as we currently know it cannot be defended, neither on ethical, legal or scientific grounds. Ethically, the patients’ values and preferences are not being respected, although the fundamental human right to equal recognition before the law applies to everyone, also to people with mental disorders.1,2 This is clear from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,2 which virtually all countries have ratified. However, we ignore the convention and continue to discriminate against people with mental problems.

Please consider this. Doctors cannot give patients insulin without their permission, not even if the lack of insulin might kill them, and they cannot give adult Jehova’s witnesses blood transfusions without their permission, even if the lack of blood might kill them. The only drugs that can be given without permission are also some of the most dangerous ones. Psychiatric drugs are the third major killer after heart disease and cancer, with an estimated 539,000 deaths in the United States and European Union combined.1,3 Only soldiers at war and psychiatric patients are forced to run risks against their will that might kill or cripple them. But there is an important, ethically relevant difference: soldiers have chosen to become soldiers; psychiatric patients have not chosen to become psychiatric patients.” (…)

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  2 comments for “Peter Gøtzsche: Forced admission and forced treatment in psychiatry causes more harm than good

  1. April 10, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    Hola Jorge,
    Muy interesante el artículo del Dr. Gøtzsche, ya que es claro que según dice él: No es muy necesario el uso de la fuerza para tratar a pacientes perturbados, menos debería ser cuando se ingresan a la fuerza personas que son denominadas perturbadas, pero que presentan otras condiciones, como por ejemplo el uso de diagnosticos psiquiatricos para atacarlos por otras razones. Sin embargo, en nuestra sociedad lo mas común es el uso de la fuerza en la mayoria de las situaciones cotidianas, por lo que el uso de la fuerza en casos de personas perturbadas no es nada mal visto por la mayoría de las personas y es algo muy normal.

  2. April 10, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    Thanks for posting this. In my opinion, Peter Gøtzsche gives many valid reasons why forced treatment should be abolished. There should be real choice for clients in psychiatry: non-medicinal treatments and diagnoses that take past trauma and adverse circumstances into account.

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