Despite the fact that psychedelics were proscribed from medical research half a century ago, recent, early-phase trials on psychedelics have suggested that they bring novel benefits to patients in the treatment of several mental and substance use disorders. When beneficial, the psychedelic experience is characterized by features unlike those of other psychiatric and medical treatments. These include senses of losing self-importance, ineffable knowledge, feelings of unity and connection with others and encountering ‘deep’ reality or God. In addition to symptom relief, (...) psychedelic experiences often lead to significant changes in a patient’s personality and worldview. Focusing on the case of psilocybin, we argue that the peculiar features of psychedelics pose certain novel risks, which warrant an enhanced informed consent process–one that is more comprehensive than what may be typical for other psychiatric medications. We highlight key issues that should be focused on during the consent process and suggest discussion prompts for enhanced consent in psychedelic psychiatry. Finally, we respond to potential objections before concluding with a discussion of ethical considerations that will arise as psychedelics proceed from highly controlled research environments into mainstream clinical psychiatry. There are no data in this work. (shrink)
Internet plagiarism continues unabated and may even be increasing. Questions pertaining to the ethical-moral construct employed by students to justify Internet plagiarism among high school students have remained relatively untouched. Understanding not simply the prevalence of Internet plagiarism but also the variety of explanations used by students to justify their plagiarism seems crucial to curtailing its practice. In this study, I surveyed 160 high school students and endeavored to understand and describe the practices of students who use the Internet for (...) schoolwork and who engage in copy-paste plagiarism or paper-buying practices. The results indicate that students are more easily able to justify copy-paste plagiarism for a variety of reasons that mirror justifications of other forms of conventional plagiarism. Most students indicated they would never purchase a paper for reasons ranging from fear of getting caught to more principled and nuanced ethical claims. Based on these results I also offer educators suggestions for refining assignments and evaluation methods. (shrink)
Gathers medical and legal documents, opinions from various perspectives, and a timeline of events in the Terri Shiavo case to provide a resource for examining the moral and ethical issues surrounding end-of-life decisions.
Recent events have revived questions about the circumstances that ought to trigger therapists' duty to warn or protect. There is extensive interstate variation in duty to warn or protect statutes enacted and rulings made in the wake of the California Tarasoff ruling. These duties may be codified in legislative statutes, established in common law through court rulings, or remain unspecified. Furthermore, the duty to warn or protect is not only variable between states but also has been dynamic across time. In (...) this article, we review the implications of this variability and dynamism, focusing on three sets of questions: first, what legal and ethics-related challenges do therapists in each of the three broad categories of states (states that mandate therapists to warn or protect, states that permit therapists to breach confidentiality for warnings but have no mandate, and states that give no guidance) face in handling threats of violence? Second, what training do therapists and other professionals involved in handling violent threats receive, and is this training adequate for the task that these professionals are charged with? Third, how have recent court cases changed the scope of the duty? We conclude by pointing to gaps in the empirical and conceptual scholarship surrounding the duty to warn or protect. (shrink)
Feminists have argued that oppressive socialization undermines the liberal model of autonomy. We contend that this argument can also be employed effectively as a challenge to the standard bioethical model of informed consent. We claim that the standard model is inadequate because it relies on presumptions of procedural autonomy and rational choice that overlook the problem of how agents are often socialized so that they adopt and internalize oppressive norms as part of their motivational structure. The argument that oppressive socialization (...) undermines liberalism’s view of autonomy is most relevant to what Beauchamp and Childress call the threshold elements of informed consent—competence and voluntariness. We show how these elements fail to account for morally relevant factors such as oppressive socialization. (shrink)
Decision making capacity (DMC) is a fundamental concept grounding the principle of respect for autonomy and the practice of obtaining informed consent. DMC must be determined and documented every time a patient undergoes a hospital procedure and for routine care when there is reason to believe decision making ability is compromised. In this paper we explore a path toward ethically informed development and implementation of a hospital policy related to DMC assessment. We begin with a review of the context of (...) DMC assessment before discussing some considerations relevant to policy creation by healthcare ethics committees. The discussion concludes in a presentation of a typology of capacity assessment policies, which draws upon a sampling of currently used hospital policies to illustrate relevant ethical considerations. (shrink)
To precisely define wisdom has been an ongoing task of philosophers for millennia. Investigations into the psychological dimensions of wisdom have revealed several features that make exemplary persons "wise." Contemporary bioethicists took up this concept as they retrieved and adapted Aristotle's intellectual virtue of phronesis for applications in medical contexts. In this article, we build on scholarship in both psychology and medical ethics by providing an account of clinical wisdom qua phronesis in the context of the practice of psychoanalysis and (...) psychodynamic psychotherapy. With the support of qualitative data, we argue that the concept of clinical wisdom in mental healthcare shares several of the key ethical dimensions offered by standard models of phronesis in medical ethics and serves as a useful, albeit overlooked, reference point for a broader development of virtue-based medical ethics. We propose that the features of clinical wisdom are pragmatic skills that include, but are not limited to, an awareness of balance, the acceptance of paradox, and a particular clinical manner that maintains a deep regard for the other. We offer several suggestions for refining training programs and redoubling efforts to provide long-term mentorship opportunities for trainees in clinical mental healthcare in order to cultivate clinical wisdom. (shrink)
Psychiatric research often poses special ethical concerns. This chapter first provides historical context, including scandals that stoked public concern about psychiatric research and led to the promulgation of canonical documents and bioethics scholarship, and then explores issues related to the decision-making capacity and safety of participants—including the use of placebos and washout periods, the design of suicide prevention studies, and research in emergency psychiatry. The chapter then describes how shifting models of psychiatric nosology have precipitated conflicts in the determination of (...) research priorities. Finally, the chapter attends to emerging issues related to research in psychedelic psychiatry and the use of artificial intelligence and social media by investigators. (shrink)
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced new ethical challenges in the care of patients with serious psychiatric illness who require inpatient treatment and who may have beeen exposed to COVID-19 or have mild to moderate COVID-19 but refuse testing and adherence to infection prevention protocols. Such situations increase the risk of infection to other patients and staff on psychiatric inpatient units. We discuss medical and ethical considerations for navigating this dilemma and offer a set of policy recommendations.
Mental illness affects every aspect of life and society, from relationships between individuals and within families, to small communities and entire polities. People with serious mental illness die decades before those without. Mentally ill people suffer daily as they struggle to function in societies that are unforgiving and uninterested in their pain. Those with serious mental illness may be incarcerated because of their sickness, they may be passed over or fired from jobs, subjected to ridicule and mockery, given little treatment (...) or safe shelter, and violently victimized. As a result, persons with mental illness are some of the most vulnerable people in our society. And while the world is focused on the COVID-19... (shrink)
Medical cannabis is widely available in the USA and legalisation is likely to expand. Despite the increased accessibility and use of medical cannabis, physicians have significant knowledge gaps regarding evidence of clinical benefits and potential harms. We argue that primary care providers have an ethical obligation to develop competency to provide cannabis to appropriate patients. Furthermore, specific ethical considerations should guide the recommendation of medical cannabis. In many cases, these ethical considerations are extensions of well-established principles of beneficence and nonmaleficence, (...) which indicate that providers should recommend cannabis only for conditions that have the strongest evidence base. Additionally, the contested status of cannabis in American culture raises specific issues related to shared decision-making and patient education, as well as continuing clinical education. (shrink)