No Choice for the Mentally Ill

by Brittany Frisch
In a world with new medical technology it is easy to treat almost any condition simply by taking a single pill. Your back hurts you take Aspirin, you are having your monthly cramps you try some Midol, and when it comes to something more serious like depression you go to your doctor for medical advice and a prescription that’s applicable to your condition. The fact of the matter is some patients, despite medical advances in prescription drugs, do not want to take any prescription or over the counter drugs to treat their mental illness, whether it be schizophrenia or depression. Unfortunately it is a common reoccurrence that mental patients are being forced to take medication against their will. Despite what many physicians think forcing Psychiatric patients to take medication is wrong because it is a violation of their personal values and it can hinder their abilities to function.
Physicians believe it is there duty to keep the patient safe, while the patient believes that what is safe for them should be decided by them not the physician. In most cases the Physician knows what is best to be prescribed to treat an illness, but what the patient wants is to have a choice as the whether or not to accept the treatment. According to an individual belief’s and religion taking medication may or may not be what the patient feels is the best action for treating their mental illness. Scientology for example rejects psychiatry and psychology as a resource for treating a mental illness. Dr. Brooks the vice president of the church of Scientology in Australia stated,” What the church of Scientology is against are brutal practices in the psychiatric field, practices that cause damage to the mind, the body and the brain, and practices that aren’t proven to handle the source of the problem.” (Sara Elks, 2007)
In addition involuntary medication underlines the constitutional rights of the mentally ill patients. In many cases the first and fourteenth amendments are violated. For those of you who do not know the first amendment it is the freedom of religious expression and the fourteenth amendment is the due process protection. Constitutional principles and common laws state and provide individuals with bodily autonomy and integrity as well as freedom from bodily intrusions. When a patient is forced to take medications the physician or whoever is doing the forcing is violating the patient’s constitutional rights as well as disregarding laws set in place to protect patients. (Darin D. Signorelli, 2007)
Despite violating patient’s personal values, forcing medication on psychiatric patients can also hinder their abilities. Taking psychiatric medications have a wide variety of symptoms and problems that can arise from taking the medication. Psychiatric medications can hinder a patients “exogenous mind, thoughts, and behavioral control” ( Robert Wettstein, 2003). There is no such thing as a safe psychiatric drug in fact there is no such thing as a safe drug at all. Every drug has its own short term or long term effects that can participate in hindering a patient of the antipsychotic drug (Gene Zimmer 1999). In the news we hear all the time about people who lose their mind after being put on an antipsychotic drug. Many patients that take psychiatric drugs become depressed and commit suicide as well as lose their minds and become crazy and these drugs can even cause birth defects in the children of patients who are on antipsychotic drugs. (Psychiatric Information, 2006)
It is good that new medicines are being formulated and that the mentally ill are seeking help from physicians; but when physicians start forcing medication upon an individual that is when things have gone too far. Despite what many physicians think forcing Psychiatric patients to take medication is wrong because it is a violation of their personal values and it can hinder their abilities to function.

Thesis: 16/20 Comments: confusing "their," clunky
Organization: 17/20
Evidence: 15/20 Comments: many statements unsupported by evidence
Clarity of Writing: 14/20 Comments:Confusing why quotes used; not attributed well. some vageue or incorrect wording
Style: 15/20 Comments:Stop using first and second voice. NOW.

Signorelli, D. D. & Mohaupt, S. (2007, May 1). Informed Consent and Civil Commitment in Emergency Psychiatry. Medicolegal Issues, p. 38.
Mosher, L. R. (September 1999). "I want no part of it anymore" Psychology Today, 32(5)
Wettstein, R. M. (October 2003). Psychotropic Medications and Criminal Defendants. Virtual Mentor, 5(10).
Elks, S. (2007, July 11). Churches no drug doctorine risky. The Australian, p. 3.
Zimmer, G. (2008, January 23). Psychiatric Drugs: Types, Side-Effects, Dangers and Permanent Damage. Retrieved January 23, 2008, from
Psychiatric Information. (2008, January 23). The truth about psychiatric drugs and therapy. Retrieved 2006, from

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License