Psychiatric ethics

Bioethics. 2002 Sep;16(5):397-411. doi: 10.1111/1467-8519.00298.


Psychiatric ethics spans several overlapping domains, including the guidelines for ethical research in psychiatry, the professional ethics required in the practice of psychiatry, and a broader set of moral and ethical problems and dilemmas distinctive to, or at least magnified by, the mental health care setting. Reviewed here are selected issues arising in the last two domains, some seemingly inevitable components of mental disorder and its cultural history and others resultant from recent changes and discoveries. Even as science explains and demystifies mental disorder, it is concluded, new ethical problems will continue to arise in psychiatry and certain recalcitrant problems will likely persist.

MeSH terms

  • Ethics, Medical*
  • Humans
  • Managed Care Programs
  • Mental Disorders / classification
  • Mental Disorders / genetics
  • Mental Disorders / therapy
  • Mental Health Services*
  • Mentally Ill Persons
  • Personal Autonomy
  • Professional-Patient Relations
  • Psychiatry*
  • Psychotropic Drugs / therapeutic use
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Values


  • Psychotropic Drugs