Beneficial Coercion in Psychiatry? Foundations and Challenges

Münster: Mentis (2017)

Abstract
Coercion in the treatment of persons suffering from mental disorders is one of the major ethical controversies in psychiatry. Despite great efforts to reduce the use of coercive interventions, they are still widespread and differ between European countries regarding the specific type of intervention and the number of patients affected. It is common to justify measures against the present will of patients under the assumption that they promote their well-being, that is, by reference to the ethical principal of beneficence. However, it is indisputable that such measures can also cause severe harm to the patients concerned and that these measures are often experienced as degrading. In which situations can coercive interventions be labeled justifiably as “beneficial”? How can they be reduced to a minimum? This volume addresses these issues from an interdisciplinary and international perspective, combining contributions from, among others, medical ethicists, philosophers, legal scholars, psychologists and psychiatrists from different European countries. Theoretical and conceptual essays are complemented by contributions with a strong relationship to clinical practice.
Keywords Psychiatry  Coercion  Beneficence
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