Thursday, December 4, 2008

Psychiatric Coercion Not Evidence-Based

A survey of the literature reveals a lack of study and evidence regarding medicating psychiatric patients against their will.

"Coerced medication in psychiatric inpatient care: literature review"
Manuela Jarrett, Len Bowers & Alan Simpson
Journal of Advanced Nursing 64(6), 538–548

The BBC reported this as "Psychiatric drugs force queried" which isn't really what the article does. Bowers has written defending psychiatric practices, in his book The Social Nature of Mental Illness. Noting the lack of study of coerced medication and calling for more study is not the same as doubting whether it should be done at all. Doubtless it is an awful experience for the person being drugged, especially at a time when they are feeling vulnerable and possibly paranoid. One of the central issues would be what alternatives are available to health care providers, especially when drugs are relatively cheap and individual attention is expensive.

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