First, do no harm: Confronting the myths of psychiatric drugs

Nursing Ethics 19 (4):451-463 (2012)
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Abstract

The enduring psychiatric myth is that particular personal, interpersonal and social problems in living are manifestations of ‘mental illness’ or ‘mental disease’, which can only be addressed by ‘treatment’ with psychiatric drugs. Psychiatric drugs are used only to control ‘patient’ behaviour and do not ‘treat’ any specific pathology in the sense understood by physical medicine. Evidence that people, diagnosed with ‘serious’ forms of ‘mental illness’ can ‘recover’, without psychiatric drugs, has been marginalized by drug-focused research, much of this funded by the pharmaceutical industry. The pervasive myth of psychiatric drugs dominates much of contemporary ‘mental health’ policy and practice and raises discrete ethical issues for nurses who claim to be focused on promoting or enabling the ‘mental health’ of the people in their care

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