Chapter

Psychiatric ethics

Sidney Bloch and Stephen Green

in New Oxford Textbook of Psychiatry

Second edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199696758
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191743221 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/med/9780199696758.003.0006
Psychiatric ethics

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A myriad of ethical problems pervade clinical practice and research in psychiatry. Yet with few exceptions, psychiatric ethics has generally been regarded as an addendum to mainstream bioethics. An assumption has been made that ‘tools’ developed to deal with issues like assisted reproduction or transplant surgery can be used essentially unmodified in psychiatry. These tools certainly help the psychiatrist but the hand-me-down approach has meant that salient features of psychiatric ethics have been prone to misunderstanding. Psychiatric ethics is concerned with the application of moral rules to situations and relationships specific to the field of mental health practice. We will focus on ethical aspects of diagnosis and treatment that challenge psychiatrists, and on codes of ethics. Resolution of ethical dilemmas requires deliberation grounded in a moral theoretical framework that serves clinical decision-making, and we conclude with our preferred theoretical perspective.

Chapter.  4048 words. 

Subjects: Psychiatry ; Medical Ethics

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