CCHR has long fought to restore basic inalienable human rights to the field of mental health, including, but not limited to, fully informed consent regarding the medical legitimacy of psychiatric diagnosis, the risks of psychiatric treatment, the right to all available medical alternatives, and the right to refuse any treatment considered harmful.
If a person wants to consider taking psychotropic drugs, they should only make that decision after being fully informed about it. While we are inclined to think that no one who was so informed would consent, drug companies need to make all the data known, psychiatrists and other medical doctors need to transmit it fully to patients prior to prescribing, and patients need to give their consent for the treatment.
A general legal definition (which may vary from state to state) for “informed consent” is: agreement to do something or to allow something to happen only after all the relevant facts are known. A patient’s consent to a medical treatment must be based on having been told all the possible consequences, except in emergency cases when such consent cannot be obtained. A physician who does not tell all the possible bad news as well as the good, operates in peril of a lawsuit if anything goes wrong.
Many individuals are not given full information about the fraudulent nature of psychiatric diagnoses, the FDA warnings on psychiatric medications, nor are they given full information about the alternatives. This violates their right to full informed consent.
Selection from the Missouri Revised Statutes (RSMo) Chapter 630, Department of Mental Health
- 630.115. 1. Each patient, resident or client shall be entitled to the following without limitation:
(12) To not be subjected to any hazardous treatment or surgical procedure unless he, his parent, if he is a minor, or his guardian consents; or unless such treatment or surgical procedure is ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction.
There is a long history to the subject of Informed Consent. At first, regulation of the medical community focused on the rights of those who participated in medical research more than those who were receiving medical treatment. Yet, from this work on regulating the rights of patients involved in research, the medical community did gradually put attention on informed consent as a right of the patient for any and all medical treatment.
Throughout the country, there are different rules and regulations state-to-state, regarding consent. To date, there is not a federal bill or law that has passed that defines informed consent.
One court case, Cruzan v. Director, decided by the State Supreme Court of Missouri in 1990, recognized “a right to refuse treatment.”Â This case and others helped to further refine the concept of informed consent. Today, informed consent is considered a fundamental right of the patient.
The right of a patientÂ to refuse treatment is based upon five constitutional protections:
1. the 8th amendmentâ€™s protection against cruel and unusual punishment
2. the 1stÂ amendmentâ€™s protection of free speech
3. the 1st amendmentâ€™s protection of freedom of religion
4. the more broadly interpreted right to privacy
5. the 14th amendmentâ€™s protection of liberty
Within medicine, these constitutional guarantees have generally been unchallenged in the case of physical illness. Within psychiatry, however, these guarantees have been variably interpreted and restrained, by saying that a “mentally ill” person is not competent to make an informed decision.
This is the minimum your doctor should explain:
-Â What is the evidence for the diagnosis?
-Â How does the treatment affect the body?
-Â How does the treatment affect the mind?
-Â What unwanted effects may occur?
-Â Is it approved by the FDA for your condition?
-Â What is known and not known about how safe it is and how well it works?
-Â What are the alternatives, including the option of no treatment?
-Â Does your doctor or the clinic have a financial interest in pushing the diagnosis or treatment?
For more information review A Model Consent Form for Psychiatric Drug Treatment.
As a watchdog organization, CCHR produces millions of educational properties including booklets, white papers, brochures and documentaries in up to 17 languages covering all aspects of psychiatryâ€™s harmful impact on society and the need for reform to protect patients’ civil and human rights and to require informed consent. Visit www.CCHRSTL.org for more information.