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Za človeka gre 2021 / All about people 2021

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Some Conclusions of The Research On Involuntary Treatment and Respect For Human Rights In Psychiatry

Patients with severe mental disorders who are subjected to involuntary treatment decisions form a minority of specifically vulnerable patients in psychiatry. Involuntary treatment is variously regulated in European national legislations. Roughly we can speak about four different approaches, which indicates different interpretations of abstract human rights. Proponents as well as opponents of involuntary treatment both refer to subject autonomy (and the related right to refuse treatment), to the protection of dignity and to human rights as well. I will present some conclusions from my interdisciplinary research which I did using methods of hermeneutical reading, analysis, schematization, synthesis, case studies as well as including available empirical data. There is a complex interplay between the autonomy of a subject with severe mental disorder, his dignity and human rights. The patients’ weakened autonomy as a result of a mental disorder is among the most frequent reasons for treatment rejection. Legislations almost always ignore that. The decision against involuntary treatment can be seen as treatment omission, therefore we need to consider what happens to dignity in the case of involuntary treatment compared to the case of an untreated disorder. Human rights are co-dependent, to protect one we often need to compromise another one.

Petra Koprivnik
Alma Mater Europaea ISH, UKC Maribor


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