All 50 states now require an informed consent document be signed before medical treatment of either a physical or mental nature. A psychiatrist, like a medical doctor, is required to tell his patient of any benefits, risks and alternatives to his proposed treatment.
Every patient has a legal and ethical right to make the decision of what will or will not be done to him. After all, it is his body, and by law he is allowed to familiarize himself with every dangerous side effect a psychiatric medicine may cause.
Of course the understanding of the patient is observed by only one person; the psychiatrist himself. And obviously this man or woman has a vested interest in obtaining the consent of his or her patient.
Does anyone else oversee the possible lack of information given, or the (quite likely) inaccuracies of the doctor’s description of any drug’s danger?
For instance, when a person is prescribed an SSRI drug, his doctor should, under the guidelines of informed consent, discuss these possible side effects:
- Movement disorders
- Sexual dysfunction
- Improper brain development
- Gastrointestinal bleeding
- Personality changes similar to the effects of a lobotomy
- Suicide (studies show 3 out of 100 children have suicidal thoughts or actually attempt or commit suicide while on an SSRI
- Permanent brain damage
- Delusions and hallucinations when the drug is withdrawn or the dosage is lowered
Not to mention that there is much research now supporting the alarming fact that antidepressants actually worsen the severity of depression in many patients, and that despite widespread use of antidepressants, there are more people being diagnosed with this condition than ever before. It is unlikely the psychiatrist mentions this to his potential patient.
The psychiatrist often describes the drug treatment in a rapid, disorganized and confusing manner, not leaving time for a patient’s questions or concerns. One is reminded of the drug commercials on television, when the announcer speedily describes horrendous outcomes and even death is couched in the euphemism “fatal event.”
Since informed consent by its nature requires there be no coercion, a person locked in a psychiatric facility is already experiencing coercion and undue influence by the medical personnel. In other words, the doctor is in a position of authority, and can force a patient to take psychiatric drugs without his or her consent.
Even a psychiatrist’s office can be intimidating to a worried patient or family member. No one needs to sign an informed consent form until he is fully satisfied that the treatment option is in his best interest. And of course this would include information describing alternative treatments as well.
It is possible to do one’s own research on adverse drug side effects and alternatives to psychiatric drugging. All Americans have a legal right to informed consent, and should never be coerced by a psychiatrist with his vested interest of payment by the patient and funds donated to the doctor by grateful pharmaceutical companies.