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Psychiatric ethics 

Psychiatric ethics
Chapter:
Psychiatric ethics
Author(s):

Sidney Bloch

and Stephen Green

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199696758.003.0006
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date: 17 September 2019

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.

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