Academic and legal discussion of the right to refuse mental health treatment gained momentum with the rise of the civil rights movement, mental health law, research on informed consent, and the concept of therapeutic jurisprudence. The controversy of informed consent to treatment typically centers on the use of medications, but treatment here refers broadly to any treatment interventions recommended by mental health professionals including, but not limited to, psychosurgery, electroconvulsive therapy, psychotherapy, rehabilitation programs, and aversive treatments.

Constitutional Rights, Informed Consent, and Therapeutic Jurisprudence

In the United States, the general right to refuse treatment in psychiatric and forensic settings is believed to be protected under the following constitutional rights: (a) protection of free speech, including the freedom of thought and ideas (First Amendment); (b) the protection ...

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