The psychiatric patient's right to effective treatment: implications of Osheroff v. Chestnut Lodge

Am J Psychiatry. 1990 Apr;147(4):409-18. doi: 10.1176/ajp.147.4.409.


Although Osheroff v. Chestnut Lodge never reached final court adjudication, the case generated widespread discussion in psychiatric, legal, and lay circles. The author served as a consultant to Dr. Osheroff and testified that Chestnut Lodge failed to follow through with appropriate biological treatment for its own diagnosis of depression, focusing instead on Dr. Osheroff's presumed personality disorder diagnosis and treating him with intensive long-term individual psychotherapy. The author suggests that this case involves the proposed right of the patient to effective treatment and that treatments whose efficacy has been demonstrated have priority over treatments whose efficacy has not been established.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Depressive Disorder / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Forensic Psychiatry
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maryland
  • Narcissism
  • National Institute of Mental Health (U.S.)
  • Patient Advocacy / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Personality Disorders / diagnosis
  • Personality Disorders / therapy
  • Psychiatry / standards
  • Psychoanalytic Therapy / standards
  • Social Responsibility
  • Terminology as Topic
  • United States


  • Antipsychotic Agents