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Applied Ethics in Mental Health CareAn Interdisciplinary Reader$
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Dominic A. Sisti, Arthur L. Caplan, and Hila Rimon-Greenspan

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780262019682

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262019682.001.0001

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Denying Autonomy in Order to Create It: The Paradox of Forcing Treatment upon Addicts

Denying Autonomy in Order to Create It: The Paradox of Forcing Treatment upon Addicts

Chapter:
(p.85) 6 Denying Autonomy in Order to Create It: The Paradox of Forcing Treatment upon Addicts
Source:
Applied Ethics in Mental Health Care
Author(s):

Arthur L. Caplan

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262019682.003.0006

American bioethics affords extraordinary respect to the values of personal autonomy and patient self-determination. Many would argue that the most significant achievement deriving from bioethics in the past 40 years has been to replace a paternalistic model of health provider–patient relationships with one that sees patient self-determination as the normative foundation for practice. This shift away from paternalism towards respect for self-determination has been on going in behavioral and mental health as well, especially as it is reflected in the ‘recovery movement’. As a result of the emphasis placed on patient autonomy, arguments in favor of mandatory treatment are rare and often half-hearted. Can a case be made which acknowledges the centrality and importance of autonomy but which would still deem ethical mandatory treatment for addicts? I think it can.

Keywords:   Addiction, Autonomy, Coercion, Bioethics, Psychiatry

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