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date: 17 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

First appearing in the published medical literature in 1992, evidence-based medicine (EBM) promotes a seemingly irrefutable principle: that clinical decision-making should be based, as much as possible, on the most up-to-date research findings. Nowhere has this idea been more welcome than in psychiatry, a field whose practices continue to be dogged by a legacy of controversial clinical interventions. For advocates, anchoring psychiatric practice in research data makes psychiatry more scientifically valid (meaning more accurate and value-neutral) and, as a result, more ethically legitimate. But because EBM makes certain assumptions about the nature of disease and treatment that may not apply to psychiatric disorders, it has also provoked vigorous debate in the field. This debate illustrates that rather than being value-neutral, EBM brings its own ethical values into practice. Are these the right values for psychiatry? The goal of this chapter is to stimulate reflection about this question.

Keywords: Evidence-based medicine, psychiatry, evidence, ethical values, values

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