Though policies vary province to province, in Canada, physicians have the legal right to enforce what are known as Community Treatment Orders (CTOs) if they feel that a patient, who has been diagnosed with a mental illness, must be legally held responsible to follow a prescribed course of treatment while living in the community. This often includes some type of prescription medicine as well as regular doctor visits (Strohschein and Weitz, 2014, pp.169). When this legal right is used, it is a clear exercise of the power of physicians. Yet it is also a reflection of our culture and societal standards.
Answer the following questions:
- There are well documented risks and side effects to many antipsychotic medicines. Should people be forced into compliance?
- Who has the power to define what mental illness is in the first place? How do these definitions serve to reinforce societal norms?
- Whose interests are really being served when mentally ill patients are legally obligated to take prescribed medications, despite the risks?